I grew up in a very small town, a farming town with the main attraction being the horse racing track. The nickname of the town is literally Slow Motion Goshen. There had been continuing development of the surrounding areas for as long as I can remember, but mainly with adding new housing, or shopping centers, nothing big or super controversial. Right around the time I moved away, development started in a town close to mine but no one really knew what was going to be built, just that it was going to be big. I remember hearing the rumors of a possible power plant being put in, but that’s what they were, rumors. People were mad they wanted answers, and I’m sure I missed a lot of what was going on seeing as at this point I was only visiting on weekends and was a freshman in high school, if they built a power plant or a fracking site it wouldn’t affect me much.
Eventually it was confirmed that CPV Valley Energy Center was being built and I remember hearing about and seeing pictures of protests and then reading this article in the local paper. The image associated with the article shows protestors wearing masks and holding signs in front of what is especially for a small town area, a very large, clunky, and foreboding building. Masks might be common now but the fact people were wearing them in that picture stuck with me. I remember reading these peoples’ accounts of having difficulty breathing and getting headaches after the plant started operating and thinking that in my small, tight knit area there wouldn’t be something like that, that would cause harm allowed to function, or at least I really hoped it wouldn’t be allowed.
More recently I have seen a lot of social media activity surrounding the harmful effects of the natural gas fracking that is going on. A few weeks ago, right around the start of this class I started doing some research once in a while. As we read Exposure I see a lot of similarities between what was going on in Earl’s town and in mine, and I’m sure what a lot of communities experience when something like this is built nearby. I have learned that there have been multiple lawsuits against the plant already, pretty much as soon as they started building and for a variety of reasons. There have been concerns raised about toxins (specifically Ethylene Glycol) being released into the water supply of surrounding areas, including an alarming amount of deaths in animals near the Wallkill River. I decided to look at CPV’s website to see if they had addressed any of the issues the public has been proposing. I was disappointed but not surprised to find a lot of blanket statements talking about sufficient testing, and precautionary measures but failed to find any actual documentation of those things. I felt the same frustration when reading about how Dupont was so easily able to cover up their wrong doings.
Frances Ruth Harris. (2018). ‘There was no place to go’. The Chronicle. 07, Feb.