Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008 | 2:10 p.m.
Citing public health concerns, the Nevada chapter of the SEIU, the union that represents 17,500 nurses, technicians and county employees -- including those of the Clark County air quality agency -- today announced its opposition to construction of new coal-fired power plants.
"It's extremely well documented, the detrimental effects of coal plants," said Shauna Hamel, a nurse at St. Rose Dominican Hospital and an SUIU member, said at a news conference at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas.
Representatives of the Nevada chapters of the League of Women Voters and the American Institute of Architects joined SEIU in its opposition to coal-fired power.
Hamel said the SEIU's executive board passed a resolution in December opposing three large, coal-fired power plants proposed in northeast and Southern Nevada because they will "likely pose a health risk to Nevada's
Coal plant pollution, including fine particulate matter in the air, produces 4,000 lost work days, about 20 hospitalizations and 700 asthma attacks in Nevada each year, Hamel said. She said 11,500 children in Nevada already live near coal plants.
Also speaking in opposition to the plants Thursday were Lydia Ball of the Sierra Club and Nevada Clean Energy Campaign, a coalition of environmental and citizen groups opposing the plants, and Monica Brett of the League of Women Voters, Randy Levine of the Nevada chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, Launce Rake of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and green living consultant Steve Rypka of Green Dream Enterprises.
At a simultaneous press conference in Reno, the Social Justice Council of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada also announced its opposition to the plants.