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Letter to the Editor: Fight the proposal to burn tires at Panther Creek

We have a history of environmental injustice in the United States and the proposal to burn tires at Panther Creek Power (the “co-gen” plant) in Nesquehoning is another example. Rural areas like ours have always been used as dumping grounds for nearby urban areas and this is the latest example of that in our county. Think sewage sludge or the contaminated waste used as fill at the West Plant site in Palmerton.

The plant was initially proposed to burn waste coal - the huge culm banks that are the result of coal mining in our region - to produce electricity. That would have been a win for Carbon County, getting rid of the coal mining waste that chokes our valleys and streams. However, they are not burning our waste coal, but rather waste coal that is being transported to Carbon from elsewhere. Instead of getting rid of our waste, we are getting the air pollution that results from burning someone else’s waste coal.

Now the owners of the plant want to import more waste - shredded tires and tire-derived fuels - and produce more air pollution in our county to get rid of someone else’s waste. Why? To generate electricity for Bitcoin mining which benefits no one in our county and maybe no one anywhere in PA except the plant owners. Large amounts of pollution are shown in their application and huge amounts of carbon dioxide will be emitted by the plant to produce electricity, not for public benefit, but for the benefit of the plant owners and Bitcoin mining operators. Tons of particulates, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, and nitrogen oxides will be emitted annually and there are no new efforts to control these emissions. This is not being done for a public need, but rather for an unneeded private benefit and should not be allowed.

Nesquehoning Borough should fight this proposal and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection should reject the permit application.

Lee and Dan Kunkle