Renovo, Pennsylvania — In recent months there has been a lot of focus on Bechtel Energy bringing a power plant to Renovo. Maureen A. Ruhl, a local activist and author, has documented her journey over the last six months and released a book titled, ‘Smoke and Mirrors,’ book one of a three-part series.
Ruhl documents a town is split down the middle on those who are for and against the power plant. Many see the power plant as a way for the small despairing town to get back on its feet, while others see the hidden risk factors and what life in a power plant town would consist of.
While running for Renovo Borough Council, Ruhl was approached by concerned citizens about the power plant being centered in the middle of town, but their concerns were much deeper. Not only would the townsmen and women be forced to endure a power plant centered in the middle of town, but also the other health and risk factors.
Ruhl was undecided where she stood on the topic so she decided to do some research by visiting other small towns that were centered around power plants, but what she didn’t anticipate was the number of people in those towns that were suffering from the long-term effects of the power plant and the behind the scenes etiquette of small-town politics and corruption.
Ruhl, her husband John, and two unnamed women visited three surrounding power plant towns in Shamokin Dam, Montgomery, and Jessup, Pennsylvania. It became very clear that the power plant would not bring the town prosperity but only financially benefit the landowners and the 49 investors who lost money off a bad investment with Renovo Rail.
As the situation manifested, Ruhl dug even further into the chaos.
Through her investigation, she has endured attacks by the pro-power plant followers, including verbal public attacks, attacks on social media platforms, and newspaper platforms by biased parties, but that has not stopped her. Through her eyes, the situation reeks of desperation and one last effort for the landowners to sell the property and investors to recuperate lost revenue. She believes, the power plant promises are distortions of truth based on federal minimum requirements to mislead the community.
Ruhl is a former banker and businesswoman from Lebanon County but relocated to the Renovo area 16 years ago after she and her husband retired. Smoke and Mirrors is available in paperback and ebook formats at Amazon.com, Lulu.com, and other fine online and brick-and-mortar stores.
News Written by: Donna Kshir