Speak up for clean air, support county’s bill

To the Editor:

Holding a panicked 1-year-old close to your body in the shower at 2 a.m. to open up his bronchioles during an asthmatic attack is an experience no parent ever wants to repeat but many do.

Parents in Coeymans as well as parents in all of Albany County shall have at least another public opportunity to speak out to the county legislature about their families’ shared circumstances in light of the proposed burning of tires at the LaFarge Ravena Cement Plant in Coeymans this next Monday night during the public-comment period, signup starting at 6 p.m.

This bill, entitled “Local Law I for 2019: A Local Law of the County of Albany to Establish Clean Air Standards for Waste Burning Facilities,” is very important for parents to pay attention to.

Why? Because the wind blows in every direction and your child’s lungs and health are so important.

This bill affects everyone in Albany County. Here in Guilderland. Down on Lark Street. Up in Knox. And everywhere. This is very important.

LaFarge Holcim wants to burn millions of tires each year. This Clean Air Law would block that from being able to happen because burning tires spews toxic chemicals into our air, including heavy metals and several human carcinogens, among them dioxins and PCBs. Add to this carbon monoxide, benzene, and sulfur dioxide and you are on your way to a witch’s brew, none of which is good.

LaFarge Holcim, among the world’s largest cement corporations, wants to burn millions of tires per year at its Ravena plant next to a high school. Fortunately, the town of Coeymans stopped this with the passage of a Clean Air Act Law this past March.

However, with November’s elections, the landscape changed. The March law is now expected to go down and the Coeymans tire law burn ban is expected to be overturned. Hence, the need for everyone in Albany to be concerned for their air quality.

For anyone tracing patterns of corporate colonization, this instance of this corporate giant’s desire to make huge profits in this little town on the Hudson is not unusual.

This kind of activity can be found with the instance of the Ezra Prentiss neighborhood homes in Albany several years ago, as these people experienced the so-called highly volatile “bomb” trains, threatening their lives with each shipment of oily cargo as the cars rolled through just yards away from playgrounds and kitchens.

Farther out, the heavy, slick air breathed in and out by the brown-skinned families of Louisiana and Mississippi. Little towns of hardworking people on the Gulf Coast trapped by the fossil fuel industry's promises for a better life but people trapped by wages too small to help them get out of a life snarled by ill health brought on by air laden with the fossil fuel they lived too close to and that they leaned on too hard in order to ultimately escape.

I am not quite sure if LaFargeHolcim thinks we are all that naive. I would hope not. Perhaps we do need to show up to show them that we are at the very least determined to govern our bodies. Please make your concerns and worries known to your legislators at your town and county levels.

Just Google your town and county and you will get the information. Make the phone call. Show up next Monday night at 16 Eagle Street in Albany at 6 p.m. Go to the front of the room and sign up. Email your county rep anyway. Flood their email boxes. Show up.

Give your child or grandchild the best Christmas present ever. Your love. Your courage. Your belief in your own power to make a difference for them. Set an example.

Betty Head


More Letters to the Editor

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.