If you think that the only aerial bombardment of Baltimore was by the British navy in 1814, think again.
Gaze south of Ft. McHenry a few miles to near where the British ships fired their canons and rockets.
O say, can you see the plumes of pollution spewing from the smokestacks of the Brandon Shores and Wagner power plants?
In the dawn’s early light, look north past where the battle of North point took place to see if the cloud from the Crane power plant yet waves.
Year after year, day after day, hour by hour these plants pollute our air with toxic chemicals that fill our lungs, our emergency rooms and our cemeteries.
Four Americans died defending Ft. McHenry during the bombardment of 1814. We will probably never know just how many of us die prematurely, or struggle for breath with asthma attacks triggered by this silent and constant poisoning of our air.
What we do know is that Baltimore has almost twice the asthma rate as the rest of the state.
We know that one in four of our children receive an asthma diagnosis by the time they are in high school.
We know that the Baltimore/DC area is rated 8th highest in the country for ozone (smog) by the American Lung Association.
(This is one time it’s not great to beat Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).
And now we know that much of this pollution could have been prevented is these plants had just kept using their pollution controls.
That’s right. Many of these coal burning power plants did not run their pollution controls most of the time.
In a report titled “The History of Power Plant Controls in Maryland,” the Maryland Department of the Environment found that Unit 2 at the Wagner plant used its SNCR 28% of the time that they could have during 2012; Unit 1 at the Crane plant operated its SNCR 14 % of the time; while unit 2 at Crane operated its SNCR a third of the time that it could have.
Know anyone who breathes a third of the time?
The report found that if the Brandon Shores and Wagner plants had used their pollution controls continuously during 2012they would have reduced NOx emissions by 2,016 tons.
Now I don’t know what you think about dog walkers who don’t pick up after their dog, but the owners of these plants left a 2,016 ton pile of toxic chemicals in the air that we can’t walk around. We breathe this stuff.
So when the owners of the power plants start whimpering about the cost of installing pollution controls or switching to less polluting fuels at their plants, I hope our leaders also hear the gasping of children with asthma attacks and the sirens of ambulances taking people to emergency rooms.
Why should we continue to subsidize the owners of dirty coal burning plants with our air and the health of our families? Why should dirty, polluting plants gain a price advantage over cleaner plants and energy sources? Why do they get free dumping rights to our air?
It is time that we tell the owners of dirty old coal burning plants that poison our air to boost their profits: NEVERMORE.
Please urge the Maryland Department of the Environment to adopt regulations that help make our air cleaner and our families healthier.
Interviews with Destiny Watford, graduate of Benjamin Frankin High School, Charles Graham, student at Benjamin Franklin High School and Mike Ewall, Director of Energy Justice Network at the protest march against the planned Energy Answers Incinerator on a site one mile from the High School. Students said that the plant would add pollution to their industrial neighborhood which is already one of the most polluted areas in the country.
Benjamin Franklin High School teacher, Kelly Klinefelter Lee thanks students for their critical thinking skills and citizenship as they continue to study and object to the proposed Energy Answers Incinerator. The proposed incinerator would be built on property a mile from the school and would burn waste including car tires and car parts from Maryland and other states. Curtis Bay is an industrial neighborhood in Baltimore that is already among the most polluted areas in the country.
Students at Benjamin Franklin High School lead protest of the Energy Answers Incinerator planned for construction at a site a mile from the school. Students fear that the incinerator will bring waste including car parts and car tires from other other states and will add lead, mercury and fine particulate pollution to their neighborhood that already ranks as one of the most polluted areas in the country.