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February 2000 - Taylor Hayne-Miller


When I was growing up I was taught not to question certain things. As I got older (I am now 14) I started to realize that questioning helps us seek information that we need to know about our world, and sometimes that is information that the government does not want us to know.

My main point of action is the protest against the Salem Power Plant. I first got involved earlier this year for a CSL (Community Service Learning) project. My friend Ian Horowitz and I attended a couple of meetings and I knew that this was something worthwhile. The Salem Power Plant is in violation of the Clean Air Act, and despite continuing progress toward cleaner air in the US, the majority of the nations’ power plants are not improving either. Most of us don’t think of power plants as a problem for our environment. We need to think again. I encourage you to get involved in the fight for clean air. Outdated power plants must be fixed or closed!!

Here are some statistics from our power plant in Salem:

Year Tons Increase
since 1995
1998 34300 56%
1997 32105 46%
1996 23791 8.5%
1995 21909 n/a
1998 7050 11%
1997 6870 8.2%
1996 4865 23.3%
1995 6347 n/a
1998 4,582,182 38%
1997 4,384,591 32%
1996 3,313,688 -1%
1995 3,320,414 n/a

With all we have learned about toxins in the air, these numbers should have been going down, RIGHT? I urge everyone to take a second look at their local power plant to make sure it is not this outdated, and that it is serving the environment as well as it is serving itself. We all have to live here.

At one of the meetings, I spoke out against Massachusetts State Representative Doug Peterson, who was quite surprised that I challenged his views. He says that it is too expensive to bring the plant to a safe standard. Contrary to what they think, we don’t want to close the plant if it could be brought up to speed. Let’s just put it this way – under today’s standards,of the 34300 tons of Sulfur Dioxide pumped out of the plant in 1998, 28257 would be illegal. Sulfur dioxide causes acid rain and forms microscopic soot which penetrates lung tissue and enters the blood stream. This exposure can cause premature death and miscarriage, according to the EPA.

During the protests and the meetings, I had the chance to work with Jan Schlickman, whose prosecution of the environmental abuses by W.R. Grace was the basis for the movie A Civil Action. He is active in the fight against the power plant, because of its similar health risks. With his help, we will win.

When I am not fighting against the power plant, I work on my art (collages and constuctions) and photography. I hope to use my art to express my views about things like the fight to free Mumia and Leonard Peltier. As Rage said “you can’t silence the voiceless.” The government spends a lot of time hiding things from the public and trying to pinpoint potential troublemakers, in order to neutralize them. An example is what they did and are doing to famous and powerful revolutionaries such as Che Guevara, Mumia abu-Jamal, and Leonard Peltier. They have systematically been silenced without due process and proper cause. The fact is that Mumia was put into punitive detention for writing his book, Live from Death Row, which would expose the public to the idea that the death penalty isn’t all that is is hyped to be.

I am also concerned about intolerance in schools, and hate crimes based on race and sexual preference. I wrote an essay on intolerance in schools. Here is an excerpt:

Gay, what is Gay? Why does the word cause people to beat and kill people?
Why are others called by this name and then persecuted? Is it really fair? Do
people who use this form of intimidation really have the authority to say
who is gay and who isn’t? This name calling just allows the perpetrator to avoid
thinking or feeling anything meaningful that might actually teach them

Though my involvement and though my art, I hope to make a difference in these issues, and I hope to expose people to the importance of them.



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Taylor and his friend Ian with Jan Schlickman (Taylor is on the left).

Photos provided by David Atlas and Maayan Zach

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