Brookline's own Alan Balsam, director of public health, and Jim Solomon, owner of The Fireplace, joined environmentalists today calling on Congress to extend tax credits for wind power.
Using non-carbon sources for energy, such as wind and solar, keeps pollution out of the air and water, Balsam said, which means healthier children and adults. But it's not just about pollution, he said.
"The impacts of climate change and air pollution on public health are profound," said Balsam. "They include increases in respiratory diseases due to particulate matter and ozone smog, the spread of vector-borne diseases, and outbreaks of other communicable diseases due to global warming."
Today's press conference was in response to the imminent expiration of tax credits for the development and production of wind power, said Alison Giest, field organizer for Environment Massachusetts. Unless Congress renews them, these credits expire at the end of December, and could mean a 75% drop in investment in this new industry. "The first ten years are really critical," she said.
And Massachusetts is a leader in developing the technology, said Rep. Frank Smizik, who was joined by Newton Rep. Ruth Balser at the event. "With all the emerging benefits that wind energy provides us, we cannot afford to withdraw our support now."
Chef Solomon addressed the water issues. "Power plants consume an unfair amount of our water," he said. "Clean and plentiful water supplies are critical for generating a local food supply for Brookline, Newton and numerous other communities. Water should help our communities, not pollute them."
More water is withdrawn from U.S. aquifers, lakes, streams and rivers for cooling power plants than for any other purpose, according to Environment Massachusetts. In 2011, wind power saved 26 billion gallons of water in the U.S., more than enough to meet the annual domestic needs of a city the size of Boston.
By Andreae Downs