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To breathe or not to breathe? That is the question faced by residents who live near We Energies’ Oak Creek and Elm Road Power Plants, depending on the wind direction and speed. As reported in the media this week, hundreds of residents living north of the power plants found everything outside their homes, including playground equipment, covered with coal dust. Coal dust is hazardous to the health of everyone, especially children, the elderly, and those suffering from heart and lung conditions.

The hundreds of railroad cars and the huge stock piles of coal at the Oak Creek and Elm Road Power Plants are a danger to all who live nearby. We all need electricity; however, that energy can be supplied through renewable, clean energy sources. Dirty coal needs to be replaced by wind and solar energy. For the sake of future generations and the life of our planet itself, there must be a plan to end the use of fossil fuels. We are called to care for Earth, to use only what we need, and not to exploit or extract every last bit out of earth for the sake of profit or convenience.

The U.S. is lagging behind scores of countries in the percentage of electricity used that is produced from renewables. Iceland (100 percent), Coast Rica (99 percent), Denmark (69 percent), Sweden (64 percent), Germany (31 percent), China (25 percent). The U.S. produces only 14 percent of its electricity from renewables. I hope we citizens of southeast Wisconsin will push to replace coal with renewable wind and solar energy.

Sister Janet Weyker

Racine

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