LETTER: Air pollution not 'free'

York Dispatch

Thank you for the article "Changes coming at plant," regarding Brunner Island's conversion to a natural gas/coal fired power plant. The amount of carbon pollution (the equivalent of 1.3 million cars annually) coming from Brunner Island is staggering. It's no wonder our air quality in York County consistently receives a failing grade from the American Lung Association. The number of children in Pennsylvania under the age of 18 with asthma (277,000) is absolutely shameful.

The president's move to protect our air quality and the climate with the Clean Power Plan is a huge step in the right direction. Regulation is not always the most desirable way to deal with the problem, but it's necessary given the market distortion of the fossil fuels industry in not paying for their damages.

Congress allows the industry to pollute our air and water at no cost to them. This gives the fossil fuels industry a competitive advantage over non-polluting sources of energy like wind and solar. Congress is picking fossil fuels as the "winner" by allowing power plants like Brunner Island to continue to pollute our children's' lungs at no cost to industry. If you are a parent of one of these 277,000 children who has to watch your child suffer from respiratory illness and pay the costs of their medication, you should be asking Rep. Scott Perry and our other representatives in Congress why Congress continues to allow our atmosphere to be treated as a free dumping ground for carbon pollution.

Air pollution is not free; somebody pays. Right now, your child is paying. You should also ask them if they support the president's Clean Power Plan and if not, what plan they have to reduce carbon pollution in York County and across the nation. Saying there is no problem is a waste of our time and is a slap in the face of every citizen of York County forced to breathe the noxious air coming from Brunner Islands' smoke stacks.

A very promising alternative solution to regulation called "fee and dividend" is being talked about much lately. Putting a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels and returning 100 percent of the revenue equally back to consumers makes perfect sense. Those of us with small carbon footprints have the opportunity to make money monthly, while the ones doing the bulk of the polluting must pay for the privilege to do so. It's only fair.


Spring Garden Twp.