When the unthinkable happens, who will step up?

Plant Bowen after an explosion closed the facility April 4, 2013. photo by Corey Thomas
Plant Bowen after an explosion closed the facility April 4, 2013. photo by Corey Thomas

There is no hiding behind the fact that the explosion at coal-fired Plant Bowen yesterday could happen at any of the power plants in Washington County. Accidents happen.

Plant Washington developer Dean Alford has never actually built a coal plant. Should we be checking his firefighting credentials too? How about the firefighting credentials of local business owners who are banking on tidy profits associated with the plant? How many elected leaders will suit up in fire gear? Will Washington EMC Board Members and Senior Management race in to help?

The EPD told citizens  that plant operators would be required to handle a fire or accident should there be one at Plant Washington. We can’t get them to show up for a fish kill, so my confidence in assurances about public safety are zero.

Local volunteer firefighters have told me there is no way we have adequate fire fighting capacity to fight fires at the two natural gas peaker plants here or a coal-fired plant. They also told me they won’t suit up because a fire at any of these plants would be more than our local folks could handle.

Just how far are local leaders willing to go at the expense of our health and safety? And if they wouldn’t risk their lives, or those of their families, to protect Plant Washington, how can they expect anyone else to do the same?