This has been building for some time, I think there is a dichotomy developing in viewpoint of the environmentalists/Green Party people fighting this tires-to-energy plant being proposed for the lower East side of Erie. On one side, you have the environmentalists' goal of creating alternative energy sources to oil. On the other side, you have environmentalists fighting a plant that promises to create an alternative energy source.
Two pieces in today's Erie Times illustrate this dichotomy beautifully. On page 1, you've got this big brouhaha about the plant's zoning approval getting overturned on a technicality. Of course, the environmentalists are all in favor of this. Then on the letters page, you have this fascinating letter by a Millcreek resident who used to work for the Dept. of Energy. He blames Reagan for canceling a number of government-sponsored energy development initiatives and leaving us in our current oil-dependent state.
The letter writer states: "By the early '80s, we had developed viable research and development programs into renewable energy sources, such as solar heating and cooling, solar electrification, wind energy, hydrogen, fuel cell technology and even into harnessing the power inherent in tidal action. In the nonrenewable area, we focused on developing coal liquefaction and gasification technologies, clean coal technology, electric car technology, tar sands extraction, improved nuclear power and many others."
Hmmm... is gasification green or not green? It seems to me like there are a lot of people out there that want something for nothing. They clamor for alternative energy sources, but then complain when somebody tries to do something innovative in this area. Now, I'm not saying that this tires-to-energy plant is a good thing, but as I've said before, there is still a lot about it that we don't know. I still haven't seen any good examples of existing plants that use the gassification technology these RewewErie guys, or whatever their name is, are talking about. The bottom line is that I think we need more information on how this plant will affect the environment. The BOTTOM LINE FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS SHOULD BE: IS THIS PLANT GOING TO BE AN IMPROVEMENT OVER CURRENT MEANS OF PRODUCING ENERGY? Can we get some info on that? Yes, it may cause some pollution, but in the overall picture, will it be causing less damage to the environment than the current means of producing the same amount of energy, as well disposing of the same amount of tires. To me, recycling tires into useful energy sounds like a good thing, if the emissions/pollution can be controlled. Can we give these guys a chance to prove that they can do this?