Thursday, October 15, 2009

Citizens for Clean Power on the Indian River Power Plant

Citizens for Clean Power (CCP), which has been fighting to clean up the Indian River power plant, issued this statement this morning on the Order to reduce emissions from the coal plant:
For the first time, DNREC acknowledges a connection between emissions from the Indian River plant and increased asthma, heart disease and cancer rates in the region. This comes after more than six years of relentless effort by CCP's Dr. Kim Furtado to compel the state to address these problems.
However, the latest order simply reflects the terms of a 2007 Consent Order between DNREC and NRG. No new reductions are ordered. After Regulation 1146 was adopted, the power plant actually increased its emissions due to increased production. Even after the new controls are in place, thousands of tons of toxic sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide will be emitted annually from the stacks at Indian River, along with heavy metals.
So long as Delaware continues to allow release of harmful chemicals and residues into our air, water and ground by coal-burning plants, public health and the environment will be threatened. Gov. Markell and Sec. O'Mara deserve recognition for their efforts thus far.
Is the glass half full or half empty? Shouldn't CCP be happier with the reductions? Here's one perspective: The plant will still emit 6,000 tons of SO2, 3,000 tons of NOx and 2,300 tons of particulates each year. It's far less than is being emitted now, but could one imagine a permit for a new facility allowing such emissions? And as I mentioned earlier, the Order doesn't address carbon emissions or the danger posed by accumulating coal ash on the edge of our inland bays.
Our industrial economy is caught in a devil's bargain, from which we are not easily extricated.


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