Coal-to-diesel project has become moral issue

To the editor:

In a recent statement, Greg Merle, president of Riverview Energy, described the opposition’s point of view to the proposed direct coal-hydrogenation project in Dale as “propaganda” and “a mechanism of control” explaining that “fear is the oldest and most devious method known to man to control a population.”

To take a position that insinuates that we in the community who openly oppose this project are unreasonably biased or intentionally misleading others by voicing our concerns seems to be a harbinger that some real threat is indeed on the horizon. While dismissing our opinion as “devious” is unfortunate, its use now turns this into a moral issue.

Riverview is highlighting the monetary gain “which will benefit local businesses, including contractors, restaurants and lodging in Spencer County and the surrounding area” (source: It would be naïve to deny the economic incentives that are in play with this project.

Nevertheless, respect for life and the dignity of the human person, should be the ultimate guiding norm for any sound economic or industrial progress. The destruction of the environment is a moral crisis that creates “suffering” compromising the air, land, water and especially the human person. Regardless of any steps Riverview plans to takes in order to “protect” our community, the mere fact that the facility will release more than 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year will significantly add to the greenhouse effect, which incontrovertibly, results in meteorological and atmospheric changes.

There is a relationship between human activity and the whole of creation. People of good will have an obligation to each other. To take actions based on selfish economic gain while adding to ecological hardships that all of us experience shows a callous disregard for the harmony which governs nature itself: “Therefore the land mourns and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and even the fish of the sea are taken away.” (Hos 4:3)

—Jack Tuinier
Santa Claus

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