Is It Clouds or Is It Polution?


Marquand, United States

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As I was driving south on interstate 55 in southern Missouri I saw this sight in the distance and the closer I got the more profoundly it affected me. This is the electric generating facility at New Madrid Missouri. I think they burn coal to fire their generators but have not been able to discover this for sure.

Let me tell you a story to help you understand why a sight like this one affects me so strongly.
Several years ago when I was very active in local and state politics here in Missouri I was attending a meeting where candidates for various offices were in attendance to seek the endorsement of our group. One individual took the floor to speak for his candidacy who worked for a local plant that made cement. At the plant they actually cooked ground up limestone dust in huge kilns fired to very high temperatures.

At that time I had joined a campaign to help make people aware of the fact that Missouri had more cement kilns in our state than any other state in the Midwest region. In addition we wanted to make the public aware that the problem with the Missouri cement kilns was that every one of them were burning hazardous waste materials as additive fuels for their kilns.

They were actually getting paid by companies to dispose of their hazardous waste materials, but none of them had the filters and recovery systems that any facility that burns such materials was supposed to have. The recorded pollution levels were out the roof and every one of them had several citations for violations of pollution regulations.

When the individual had finished his presentation; I, being aware of the facts about their pollution, asked him several questions about the plant burning hazardous waste materials. He of course stated that they were approved by the government and were not polluting the local atmosphere at all. He stated that their kilns burned so hot that everything that was a pollutant burned up. I knew this was false and knew how many citations the company had for pollution but I let him ease out of the issue because he was not management.

I then asked him how they processed hazardous waste that contained heavy metals like lead and mercury. He proudly stated that the heavy metals would not rise with the smoke of their kiln fires but would rather settle into the cement! At that point I asked him, “So you are telling us that if we buy cement from your company and use it to pour a patio behind our house then in the future our children will be playing and sitting on cement that contains lead and mercury?”

He never had the chance to respond. The people in attendance at the meeting began to boo him and continued until he had walked out the door.

So is this clouds or pollution you see here!!

Nikon D40X with Nikon 300mm VR lens on auto focus

124 Views as of 11/11/11

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