Dear Editor: Wisconsin needs to shut down We Energies' older plant in Oak Creek immediately.
Residents from Milwaukee to Kenosha continue to breathe the worst air in the state, and We Energies is the major contributor. Coal dust in the form of fine particulate matter can travel as far as 25 miles, and its inhalation leads to asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, COPD and cancer. It also increases vulnerability to respiratory diseases like COVID-19.
Then there's the contamination caused by coal ash storage and dissemination. A toxic combination of arsenic, lead and mercury, it is essentially a cancer delivery system, whether it leaches into groundwater or finds its way into our rivers and streams. These elements are also part of We Energies' effluent daily discharge into Lake Michigan.
Because coal is by far the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, and because clean energy is now cheaper than coal, We Energies must transition to clean, renewable energy without delay. The We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant is costing ratepayers $75 million more per year to operate than if the plant were shut down and the energy were purchased off the grid. There is no need for this facility to continue operating one day longer, and shutting it down would be a good start to cleaning up the air in southeast Wisconsin.
So please recommend this action, as strongly as possible. Not long ago, Wisconsin led America in environmental responsibility. Let us again prioritize health and life over short-term profits and the poisonous pollution that they bring.
Send your letter to the editor to email@example.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!