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Letter to the Editor: Answers Still Needed on Salem Power Station Future

Becky Smith of Clean Water Action voices her concerns on the issue.

To the Editor:

A Question of Power

Not having resolution on the gnawing question of what to do with soon-to-be-deserted Salem Harbor stacks is frustrating to everyone who’s been waiting patiently.

The final “say” on whether Footprint Power buys a parcel of land from Dominion is between the two companies. The final “say” on how many municipal tax dollars may or may not be part of the deal to make it a profitable venture for a private company is in the hands of local officials. There needs to be a meaningful role carved out for the public as this moves forward.

Once a deal has been reached and gets announced, it’s virtually too late to have any real input into shaping what will anchor Salem’s valuable waterfront for decades, or the financing of it. Opposition by groups like SAFE, HealthLink, and Clean Water Action was not reached lightly or in haste, but perhaps just in the nick of time to raise important questions that all Salem residents deserve to have answered.

For example, since there is no existing source of gas at the proposed site, where will it come from? Will a new line be put in under a heavily populated area? Is Salem’s port being targeted for a new LNG facility? How would a large-scale gas plant affect other development proposals? Will businesses and condos really get built next to a large gas-burning facility, or will its siting limit these promising developments? Would this natural gas plant displace the role of energy efficiency and renewable energy for decades to come?

Moving forward without answers to such basic questions would be foolhardy. There’s no reason for the Salem News or anyone else to dismiss these valid questions. It would be nothing short of irresponsible to bypass careful consideration of all scenarios.

Sincerely,

Becky Smith

Clean Water Action

sharon April 05, 2012 at 11:07 AM
I wish people would be realistic about the uses for the power plant land. Would you like to live on the very contaminated land that is under the coal pile? Or under the tanks that stored oil? I dont think so ! Its going to take ALOT of money to clean up that land. Do you know anyone who has it????
bobhc2 April 23, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Ummm The writer has not done her research at all... I agree with Sharon the property is already an nighmare and a coal power plant is going bye bye. Nat gas plants are so clean and are smaller in overall size. It is also a tax mine for Salem if the money is used right! Like lower property taxes or some free parking...And yes there is a huge Nat Gas pipe already under the harbor that they can hook right into if they worked out a deal with the owners of that line! This plant will probably be smaller in size and make twice as much electricity as the coal monster!

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