Environmental Reads

You Really Can’t Go Home

For this assignment we had to read and write about another classmate’s website. I chose to read an entry from Shannon, who is also from my home county in the New York Hudson Valley. I haven’t lived there in eight years now, but I do visit often. It’s always strange to see the changes that have been made, but I’ve always tried to keep on top of the big ones. Which is why, when building began on our county’s very own fracking site, I knew all about it.

Located about 5 miles away from my high school, and 8 miles away from my childhood home, is the CPV Valley Energy Center. CPV Valley Energy Center is a natural gas power plant that came to be through skirting regulations and side deals with local legislative officials. As Shannon shared in her post, a small group of community members tried to stop the project when they found out what was happening, but it was too little, too late when the money had already changed hands between the Wawayanda councils and CPV. The plant went up on the side of Interstate 84, next to a section 8 apartment complex and a MedLine packaging plant.

The CPV website boasts cleaner and safer energy options. However, one of their plants in Minisink, New York, has been cited for causing health issues in children. As this EcoWatch article reports, “because of emissions from the compressor station children living nearby began suffering from nosebleeds, rashes, headaches and dizziness.” Despite the well documented risks, CPV’s station in my hometown was able to open, and as Shannon mentioned, there have been several documented incidences of similar health effects while the plant and the town remain silent.

Shannon’s post was a great reminder of how the world can change in subtle and even monumental ways when we’re not looking. I thought that I remembered my home, and stayed up-to-date in what was going on, but clearly I was mistaken. The corporations that stand to benefit from these deals are cognizant of that and often take advantage of marginalized communities in ways they would never predict or be able to counteract. Because of that fact, I can never go home, because home as I knew it has been forever changed.

This post meets the requirement of Assignment 6 for Fall 2020 ESS210 at Drew University.

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