Turn off the lights!

I am writing in response to the article on Dominion's application for new nuclear power plants [March 11: "New nukes: Dominion plans cause reaction"].

Louis Zenner, spokesman for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, is quoted as saying that "People are dying around these plants, and they are our most vulnerable citizens." Well, people are dying to bring coal from the depths of the Earth, too.

It would be better if environmentalists would rise up against the energy wastefulness of Americans who needlessly run their computers 24 hours a day and leave lights, televisions, radios, etc. on when no one is using them. If there were not an ever-increasing demand for energy, we would not require yet more power stations of any kind to be built. All power sources harm the environment in one way or another, so the best way to deal with this situation is to hammer home to folks that energy is a commodity that should never be wasted.

As a person with a degree in physics and therefore a measure of understanding of this field, I do not see how proximity to nuclear power plants would cause infant mortality. What would be of more concern to me would be the competence of those working at nuclear power plants, because human error is the most likely cause of any problems. And with the poor education I have witnessed children receiving over the past 20 years or more, I do fear that there are many adults now who are incompetent to do their jobs.

Environmentalists should try to educate folks about the correlation between excessive energy consumption and the resulting environmental costs to all of us. People need to be made aware that needlessly running computers and burning light bulbs may not seem like much in one home, but it adds up to an incredible waste of energy when tallied across this large country.

Coal miners and workers in other energy-related occupations should not be risking their lives to feed the energy gluttony of their fellow citizens who give nary a thought to the human tragedies associated with energy production.

Marlene A. Condon
Sugar Hollow