Garret Matthews, writing for the Evansville Courier Press, has an article on a hearing about the coal gasification plant contemplated for Rockport that took place yesterday. Industry representatives gave rosy testimony: the endeavor will be economically successful, it will provide jobs, and there will be no environmental problems. Community leaders seem to be interested pretty much only in the 500 jobs the project is supposed to create.
The Citizens Action Coalition isn’t so sure. It says the only way the project is economically viable is if the ratepayers are locked in as collateral, an anti-capitalistic move. In other words, if gas from this project is more expensive than natural gas from other sources, ratepayers will still have to buy gas at the coal gasification rate.
John Blair of Valley Watch said coal gasification will never be viable.
“Not only will it be an economic disaster,” Blair said, “if the plant is built, the company wants zero risk. The taxpayers will have the liability for the CO2.”
The environmental concerns make me think a little of the NFL concussion issue that’s been in the news a little bit lately. Concussions have crippling, long term effects. But, in the short term, the impact is minimal. Meanwhile, the need is very great in the short term for players suffering concussions to take the field. So, the long term costs get shoved aside in pursuit of short term gain. Environmental impacts are frequently subtle and slow. So, communities go for the short term jobs and sacrifice their future.