High Voltage West Virginia

For your education, here are TWO letters to the editor which I have received permission to re-print here. One was published in the Roane County Reporter and one was in the Charleston Gazette. As usual, pass this info on to everyone you see.

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Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 10:45 PM
To: d hedges
Subject: letter/op-ed piece

No 765,000 Volt line

To the Editor,

It’s amazing what our government, along with powerful corporations, seems willing to do to us here in WV. They have proposed to build an extremely high voltage, 765-kilovolt line that would cut right through Kanawha, Roane, and Calhoun counties in a 270 mile long and 200 foot wide path, from one end of our state to the other. This line would cost over a billion dollars to build, and guess who’s going to pay for it? WV electricity consumers. Guess who it’s mostly for? The east coast grid. They also want to build a 4.3 billion dollar coal-gasification plant just north of the John Amos plant. That’s how they plan to have enough electricity to feed that line to Md. and beyond. They’ll want us to pay for that too, but that electricity is not needed here either. However, the health dangers and the loss of the unspoiled natural beauty of our area and the loss of property values and quality of life will be ours. And for that we’ll be charged over $5,000 apiece if we let this happen. Maybe we should put it on the ballot this fall and vote on it. We’re supposed to live in a democracy, but it seems more like fascism when corporations are spending our money to tell us what they will do whether we like it or not.

A 345-kilovolt line will light up a florescent bulb if you hold one in your hand under the wires. A 765-kilovolt line is even higher voltage than that, but it is the electromagnetic field that is produced by high voltage lines that is reported to be dangerous, especially to children and embryos. Study after study in many countries has shown the connection to childhood cancer and leukemia rates being triple the national average from living near high-voltage lines. Other studies have shown how these EMF’s, (electromagnetic fields), affect human cells and act as a cancer promoter by causing cancer cells to thrive and the cells that fight cancer to be weakened. In Houston Texas a court case was won that forced a power company there to move a high current power line away from a school. In Virginia, there are signs posted around these high power lines that say
“Stay Away. Do not walk under these lines. Exposure may cancer”. How is mining and using even more coal, building a 4.3 billion dollar power plant, and running an enormous, annoying, humming power line across our state a better idea than producing any new energy we need from clean, renewable sources, and then have those sources slowly but surely take over more and more from our use of fossil fuels?
Let me note some clean ways to produce energy that will make us more energy independent, help clean up our environment, create jobs that can stimulate our economy and help slow down global warming. For our coastal areas there’s the energy of the ocean that we can tap. They have developed buoys that bounce around in the ocean and can produce enough energy to power 60,000 homes. They can also put turbines underwater to capture the energy there. We can build wind turbines in high wind areas in our nation and use that electricity right there to create hydrogen from water, and then make hydrogen fuel cells, the by product of that process being
oxygen. No transmission lines are necessary for that project. If we would mass-produce hydrogen fuel cells for our homes and cars, they would get cheaper and more affordable. Our homes would be twice as efficient with a way to store energy, same as a hybrid vehicle. If we would mass-produce solar cells, they too would be much more affordable and we could put them on our homes and businesses. Toyota is soon going to put solar cells on the roof of their hybrid cars to power their air conditioners.
Won’t these types of projects, building 765,000 volt electric lines and building more coal-fired power plants undermine efforts to produce energy from clean, renewable sources?
When they buy or take a two hundred foot wide right of way across your property, they only pay for that portion of your property. But they have reduced the value of your entire property, and you’re not being compensated for that. You may no longer want to live near one of these annoying, humming power lines, they may give you a headache, or make you nauseas. You may not want your children playing near them, or your cows grazing under them. And maybe no one else would want to buy that property with one of those massive lines going across it. I imagine a lot of people
have put a lot of hard work and investment and time and sweat into their places, and want to pass that on to future generations. That’s worth more than a million dollars to some people, and the power company is just going to pay for what they cross, not what they ruin. No one wants them near their school, no one wants them near their home, no one wants them where they work, and no one wants them on their land. No one should be forced to live with these things. How dare they run these lines through our beautiful state! They should be illegal.

Sincerely,
Steve Gormezano

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Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 12:16 PM
To: Gazette
Subject: 765 KV lines

To the Editor,
765,000 volts. That’s over 3/4th of a million volts to be running through these proposed 765 kV power lines. The electromagnetic field that is generated, feels like a field of negative life-force energy. I see you reported that the Governor is wondering if there is anything at all in these proposed lines for West Virginia and it’s people.
Well there’s plenty. There are the decreased property values all the way across our state. When they pay a landowner just for the strip of land they cross, they do not compensate anyone for the loss in value of their entire property and for nearby properties. There’s the destruction of the scenic beauty everywhere they go. That could affect tourism, and people who live here could lose loving where they live. No one chooses to live under these lines, they get stuck there. Let’s not forget the health or economic benefits. We know that cancer and leukemia rates triple in children that live under high current power lines with less current than these. And naturally, our electric rates would go up for the costs involved in making more electricity that we don’t even need, since it’s all for the east coast grid. .
There’s the loss of respect for the turn our form of government has taken lately, where most people believe that corporations now rule our country, and that is fascism.
We’d also end up undermining efforts to produce clean renewable energy with projects like these. This project includes building 4 more coal fired electric plants. That would lead to an amazing contribution to global warming.
However, if we choose to, within 10 years, we could produce most of our homes energy needs with solar and hydrogen technologies, and we wouldn’t need half the power we use now from coal. No one doubts that power companies would hate to see that. Clean, renewable energy? Are you kidding? They have made it a crime in some places. Whose country is this anyway?
Thank you, sincerely, Steve Gormezano

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Steve Gormezano is vice-president and a spokesperson for the CCC, the
Concerned Citizens Coalition of Roane and Calhoun Counties. He is also
been featured on the news recently growing organic garlic and Jerusalem
artichokes on his Roane County farm. He was a founding member of WV’s
organic growers and buyers association. He also harvests bark and trees in
a sustainable manner, runs a bandsawmill, and makes baskets and furniture
featured at both Tamarack and Mountainmade.

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