Smart Health Decisions Start with Smart Energy

Posted on October 6, 2009 by

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Wherever you may fall on the political spectrum, there generally seems to be no disagreement that our nations health care system needs some serious overhauls in order to restore quality care and affordable rates.  The visuals of recent inflamed and often bitterly intolerant crowds at town hall meetings and civic debates, speak clearly to the legislative complexity and emotionally divisive solutions being proposed for the common task at hand.

In Georgia, African American children are three times more likely to have asthma.

In Georgia, African American children are three times more likely to have asthma.

Yet, as Americans stay concentrated on the details and drama of the Health Care question, the major causes of many of America’s illnesses are slipping in the back door and securing themselves a cemented seat in the future of our neighborhoods.  Financially risky and destructively polluting giants like Biomass, Oil, Nuclear, and Coal-fired power plants are moving forward on big projects all across our state, so despite all the noise from the health care hagglers, Georgians will continue to see high rates of asthma, cancer, and heart disease long into the future.

In a single year, Georgia experiences nearly 1,000 premature deaths and over 28,000 hospitalizations  from afflictions ranging from asthma to heart attacks that are directly linked, in a 2004 study by an EPA consulting firm, to the pollution emitted from the states 7 major coal fired generation stations. One plant alone, outside Macon Georgia, is statistically responsible for over 170 premature deaths every year!  Hospital care and treatment for these illnesses, which are statistically more likely to occur in low income communities of color- which are also less likely to be insured- cost tens of millions of Georgia health care dollars every year; and more to the economy in terms of work days lost, school days missed, and debts accrued.

The State of Florida and Georgia Power have come out against new coal-fired power plants (though still heavily backing cancer causing nuclear plants) because of these very significant financial, environmental, and health risks.

Yet, there are still currently two of these giant silent killers slated to be built in our home state.

The plants backers state that the economic benefit of just 79 permanent jobs (at a cost of $26 million per job) is worth the health and environmental risk.  But the fact is, electricity demand is decreasing, and communities like Sandersville can be improving our health quality, saving money, meeting energy demand, and creating more jobs simply by making smart decisions about how we make and use electricity.

energy_efficient_homeEnergy Efficiency, the processes of making existing houses, buildings, plants, and power lines more efficient, has proven over and over again to meet future electricity demand faster, more cleanly, more cheaply, and would create almost four times as many jobs on the dollar. In fact, a recent Georgia Tech study on Energy Efficiency found that with similar sized investments the Southeast could reduce projected demand by 9 percent, enough to negate the need for additional health risk power plants.

If we are to expect better health and quality of life in our near future, Instead of being blinded to the severe health and financial impacts of our current energy system, then we must stand and tell decision makers to reject dirty energy plans like Biomass, Coal, and Nuclear power for our cities, and instead to attract healthy clean energy and energy efficiency jobs that can re-ignite our economy.

Join Georgia Citizens from across the state, Today! as they make a big push for the clean energy economy in Georgia!

Here’s a short listing of the facebook listings for events:

October 6th/13th Hearings
Atlanta:
http://tinyurl.com/yfph4zg

Kennesaw:
http://tinyurl.com/yl3mtb9

Macon:
http://tinyurl.com/yf9r7en

Augusta:
http://tinyurl.com/yg2twd3

Savannah:
http://tinyurl.com/yk48dms

Sandersville:
http://tinyurl.com/ygryuy

As Americans, it is our right and responsibility to remind government officials that we want them to protect our air, health, and water from pollution.

The final scheduled EPD hearing is set for October the 20th, in Sandersville Georgia
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/event.php?eid=135582179840&ref=ts

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