A recent June 19 letter in the “Dubois County Free Press” Greg Merle, President of Riverview Energy, described the opposition’s point of view to the proposed direct coal hydrogenation project in Dale, Indiana 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 because we are voicing our legitimate concerns seems to be in itself a “red herring” indicating that there is indeed something dangerous or threatening on the horizon that needs to be addressed. In other words, it is not the opposition that is trying to manipulate the “population.”
On the contrary, to dismiss our opinion as “devious” doesn’t pass “the smell test.” And yet, I’m glad that Mr. Merle chose to use the word “devious” in his description because it allows me to broaden the conversation about his proposal into the realm of morality.
One of the biggest points that Riverview Energy is touting is the monetary gain “which will benefit local businesses, including contractors, restaurants, and lodging in Spencer County and the surrounding area” (source: http://www.riverviewenergy.com/projects/). It would be disingenuous and a little more than naive of me were I to deny the economics involved here.
All of us realize that this alone is the driving force behind the project.
Nevertheless, respect for life, and above all for 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.” By this I mean a state of distress, hardship or compromise to the air, land, water, and especially the human person. Regardless of any steps Riverview plans to takes in order to “protect” our community as a whole, the mere fact that the facility will release more than 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air per year will significantly add to the greenhouse effect, which incontrovertibly, results in meteorological and atmospheric changes ranging from damage to health to the possible future submersion of low-lying lands.
There is a relationship between human activity and the whole of creation. As people of good will, all of us have an obligation to each other. To knowingly and willingly take actions based on selfish economic gain while adding to the ecological hardships that all of us experience shows a callous disregard for order and harmony which govern nature itself without which there can be no peace:
“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).