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My name is James Thurmond and I love my family.
For me, one of the few good things that has come from this wrenching debate over the inappropriate placement of the Atlanta Motorsports Park on Duck Thurmond Road in Dawson County is that I have met so many wonderful people these past few months that I may never have had the real honor of knowing otherwise.
While this debate burns around us, and what was once a strong, united community now sees its future dangling perilously on the threshold of permanent division, I have met what I consider to be the most compassionate and indomitable group of citizens who, like me, are vehemently against the placement of this park on our road.
I am standing with them against this park because it promises to threaten our lives, quality of life and livelihoods, everything we hold dear.
Wrapped within the gilded folds of "good intentions" lies a project that will upend the lives of hundreds of families in the surrounding area and mercilessly trample upon the sylvan beauty of our backyards.
We will not find peace next to this noisy and noisome injustice. This park will rend the very flesh of the restful contentment so many families here have worked so hard to achieve and fought so long to preserve.
Beauty within Dawson County will be threatened. We will become overdeveloped, overpolluted and overburdened. Our fresh air will turn putrid, our trees will be felled and our water will become undrinkable.
I fight this because there is nothing in life I hold dearer or closer to my heart than my family. I would not see them be made to suffer just so some extremely selfish people can have a "place to play." I find this attitude deplorable and insulting.
Regardless of the gold-plated promises, I have no doubt that we will all be made to suffer for the careless greed of a few if this project passes. And when it fails, we, as taxpayers of this county, will be left holding a wasteland of broken promises, darkness and ashes. The pieces left will be ours to clean up.
We've been called "whiners" by the opposition. Of course we're "whiners." Loud and clear! I should hope that those supporting this park would whine too if their families were being threatened the way ours are.
But that's what honorable people do. They fight for their friends and neighbors. They fight for their families. They ignore the aggrandizing rhetoric and search for the truth.
So to all the wonderful people I've met opposing this park, I would like to extend my eternal thanks. You've all shown me that there is indeed still true, unblemished honor left in the world.
Indeed, ever since I've met the outstanding citizens united against this park, the number of people I consider family has grown exponentially.
Georgia needs practical solutions for new energy
I would like to applaud Rep. Deal for recognizing the need for a comprehensive energy policy in this country and for making the tough decisions necessary to find real solutions.
Within the past five years, we have not only experienced $4-a-gallon gasoline, but we have also seen extreme volatility associated with traditional fuels used to make electricity. Coal prices increased by as much as 200 percent while natural gas prices spiked by as much as 400 percent. Steps must be taken to lessen the price volatility of electricity, reduce our dependence on foreign energy and reduce gas emissions to comply with new policies.
In order to accomplish all three of these objectives, you must look at the resources available to each state and find cost effective solutions. Rep. Deal is correct; we cannot cost effectively produce electricity from solar or wind in Georgia. Spending money on generation that is not cost effective does not make any sense.
The areas that make sense in Georgia are biomass, capturing gas from landfills and cost-effective energy efficiency measures. All three of these options are already being pursued when they are economical. Unfortunately, these sources fall significantly short of meeting the growth that we have experienced in our state. We must supplement these efforts with larger generation sources, such as nuclear, that also meet the criteria mentioned above.
Nuclear has the potential to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources and is the only large-scale base load generation source that emits no greenhouse gas. Georgia's main utility already has a plan to construct new units near Augusta.
Georgians should not be forced to pay higher prices because they live in an area of the country that has limited wind and solar potential. They should be allowed to utilize the cost effective resources that are available to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas. In Georgia and in most of the Southeast, nuclear generation must be a part of the solution.
Jack C. Causey