Dear Schultz Family: 24,000 people a year die prematurely of pollution from coal-fired power plants... 38,000 Heart Attacks

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 09/06/2010 - 05:00.

According to the American Lung Association, 24,000 people a year die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants. And every year 38,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital admissions and an additional 550,000 asthma attacks result from power plant pollution. It is therefore not surprising to read, in The Place My Father Didn't Want Me to See, an article by Plain Dealer Columnist Connie Schultz, published in Parade Magazine this Labor Day weekend, that Ms. Schultz' father died of a heart attack after having worked as a mechanic in a coal fired power plant for 34 years.

As Ms. Schultz writes: "I never knew what Dad did at the plant, but I saw the toll that 34 years of hard physical labor took on him. He had surgery on his shoulder, his hand, his spine. At 48, he had his first heart attack and bypass. He retired in 1993, right after the last kid graduated from college. But the damage was done. A few years later, another surgeon shoved stents into his arteries. The next heart attack killed him. He was 69." She further observed, from once having visited her father at his plant: "I stared at my father, covered in sweat and coal ash, and for the first time had to consider why he was so often angry for no apparent reason."

What is surprising is that Ms. Schultz does not offer her readers of this story the learning opportunity to understand that industrial pollution from burning coal kills 10,000s of fathers, mothers and babies in America each year - I don't know of studies proving "hard physical labor" does the equivalent. There is clear evidence that working with coal causes heart attacks, among a long list of health impacts... including mental illness. From a recent study in Korea: "When particulate matter (a common form of air pollution) spiked, the risk of suicide increased by 9 percent over the next two days, the researchers found. Among people with heart disease, the increased risk was even greater, about 19 percent." Beyond the physiological impacts of pollution, knowing you are being killed by pollution makes you angry... I certainly know that for a fact, as my family is being killed by a coal power plant in my neighborhood, and I have grandparents who died of industrial poisoning, and I am angry about all that. Angry at Connie Schultz' family.

Connie Schultz is married to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and his family is in the coal burning business, as his brother is Robert Brown... Chairman of the Board of Medical Center Company (MCCO), a coal burning power plant located next to University Hospitals, in University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio, which burns over 44,000 TONS of coal a year, emitting over 4,000 TONS of air pollution into surrounding neighborhoods.... killing people in my neighborhood unnecessarily.

My family lives by the Brown's power plant (above), and my grandfathers both died of industrial poisoning, so I take these matters seriously.

My mother's father was an industrial engineer who helped build huge furnaces for facilities like steel mills and printing plants. Never knowing the man, I've had to learn about him from others. As my great uncle described it, my grandfather's last task on these engineering jobs was to ride through the furnaces lighting the burners - like going through an endless gas chamber - and he had a stroke while my mom was still a young girl. Grandfather's life was over before it really got started, changing everything for his family.

The American Heart Association has found that breathing pollution can increase stroke risk.

My father's father worked with metals his whole live, as a jeweler, and died of a heart attack Christmas Day, when my father was 12.

Losing their parents so young, for no good reasons, clearly changed my parents' lives for the worse, forever, as would be expected. And that determined that my parents are quite nihilistic toward life - always waiting for their hearts or brains to fail, believing they were genetically predisposed to die young - when in fact their families were just hit especially hard by the owners of the industrial revolution.

Having family lose family in this way changes everything, for me. I fight industrial poisoning, rather than accept it.

I cannot accept that Connie Schultz' family burns coal and poisons my community... and, worse, that she uses the monopoly "free press" of the immense public forum of Parade magazine (inserted in many newspapers, Parade is the most widely read magazine in America, with a circulation of 32.2 million) to confuse 10,000,000s of people about the environment, without disclosing she has family interests in burning coal... and without disclosing her husband is U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who greatly influences global policy regulating pollution from burning coal.

It is hard to imagine a family with greater conflicts of interest... and for the Schultz/Brown family things are about to get far more conflicted, as I am shutting down their coal-burning for good, and I will be as public about this as I should be, as I am protecting citizens from harm.

Connie Schultz' Parade column suggests "hard physical labor" at a coal plant did her father in, without ever acknowledging the harm caused by the toxins with which her father worked for 34 years... not recognizing the pollution he spewed into the environment all those years... and that is just plain wrong.

In her article, Ms. Schultz describes giving to HER daughter her grandfather's hard hat, from all those toxic years working with coal, and a note: "Whenever you feel a little shaky, afraid of the next step, put this on, look in the mirror, and remember your roots."  Ms. Schultz' lesson for her daughter and readers, this Labor Day: "My daughter is the grandchild of a maintenance mechanic. If she remembers that, she can do anything."

My conclusion is Connie Schultz' daughter is the grandchild of a victim of industrial poisoning, like myself, and our parents are clueless about the environment, and that changes everything in our lives forever.

My suggestion to Ms. Schultz' daughter, who apparently just graduated from college, is to study what really happens to a man over 34 years of exposure to coal dust, and speak to your mother, her husband Senator Sherrod Brown, and his brother Robert Brown, about the harm your family coal fired pollution factory in Cleveland causes the world.

As the grandson of industrial poisoning victims, I believe it is far more cathartic to recognize the truth and deal with that than to go through life believing "Eat, Drink and Be Merry, for tomorrow we die."

Just in case Schultz' daughter doesn't get the right message in life from her mother, I will make certain she learns the truth about MCCO from realNEO.

It is hard finding the truth, and even harder to learn lessons from the truth to benefit the world. Some families cause harm to the people of the world, and the rest of the human race must confront that head on.

Here is a simple truth for all - protect your children from the harm of pollution, and from those toxic people who pollute.

Norm Roulet, Citizen, East Cleveland, testifying at the August 10, 2010 EPA License Renewal Hearing
AGAINST the EPA renewing the permit for MCCO to continue burning coal

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