Letters to the Editor

Thursday, Nov 14 2013 11:04 PM

More questions about HECA

I am pleased the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is questioning health risk studies done by the California Energy Commission on the Hydrogen Energy California project.

The EPA found that the CEC's health-risk assessment on HECA had insufficient information. The EPA noted that the CEC concludes the HECA project would not result in significant risk of cancer or short- or long-term health effects to the public. Yet the CEC does not show how it justifies its conclusion.

CEC states Kern County ranks as one of the lowest California counties in overall health. The mortality rates for asthmatics and those suffering from coronary heart disease in Kern are higher than the state overall. It identifies Valley Fever as an existing public health concern that appears to be on the rise in Kern. The CEC states that their analysis uses a conservative health-protective methodology that accounts for impacts to the most sensitive individuals, including a developing fetus, newborns, infants and the elderly. Yet it is not clear through their methodology how the pre-existing health conditions were considered or how this information affected their conclusions, if at all.

I support the EPA's questioning. The CEC needs to clarify how the health-risk assessment considered the pre-existing health conditions. We, in the dirtiest air in the nation, deserve robust studies that show the health risks of hundreds of tons of new emissions from this dirty coal-fueled plant. The CEC needs to do better.

Marie Parsons

Buttonwillow

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