Clean coal

Go read all of this very good piece of journalism. Here are some lowlights, but click through for much more.

For [Robert] Maddox, the first signs of trouble would come in the middle of the night, when he would wake up with nose bleeds mixed with clear mucus. Then his muscles started twitching, and then he got kidney disease, and then sclerosis of the liver. […]

The neighbor who used to live in the now-empty house has abdominal cancer. In the house two doors over, a once healthy woman has a form of dementia that’s left her “unrecognizable,” according to Maddox.

Maddox lives across the highway from Plant Scherer, a giant coal-fired power plant and the largest of greenhouse gas producer in the United States.

For its part, Georgia Power claims it didn’t know about any health problems among residents living near the plant.

But then again, it also says it isn’t offering to buy properties around the plant.

The spokesman, Mark Williams, says Georgia Power routinely purchases property around power plants. However, in the case of Scherer, Williams says Georgia Power “is not approaching people and offering buyouts.”

Yet, three homeowners across from the plant showed CNN business cards left by Georgia Power employees indicating the company was opening up discussions to purchase their homes.

When presented with this contradiction, Williams holds firm.

“We have not been approaching people,” Williams said.

Some residents have high concentrations of uranium in samples of their hair. The EPA thinks the uranium is coming from under a layer of underground granite near Atlanta, which is about 70 miles away. But Plant Scherer stores it’s uranium-rich coal ash in an unlined pond that is considerably closer.

“The EPA has estimated the risk of people getting cancer around unlined ash ponds were as high as one in 50 individuals exposed,” Stant notes. “So, it’s extremely important to line these ponds. It’s nine times higher than the risk of cancer from smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for your entire life.”

Luckily, the government is staying out of the way, with no pesky regulations forcing the company to line the coal ash pond or bureaucrats hanging around asking questions or inspecting things.

But that might be just because the bureaucrats don’t want to get sick.

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