Ohio ranks high in mercury pollution from coal plants

At a time when most coal-fired power plants are using less mercury — which causes brain and kidney damage — the coal plants that line the Ohio River in southeastern Ohio have gone against the grain by doubling their toxic mercury outputs, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The best part is that AEP reps aren’t really fazed by this, as they basically just shrugged their shoulders and said they buy cheap coal, and sometimes it’s really full of mercury. Oops.

Aside from the gross lack of accountability or real concern about the fact that three of their power plants made a list of the power plants that emitted the most pollution in 2008, I enjoy that their main retort is that new scrubbers are going to fix this problem. I hope these aren’t the same scrubbers that the Gavin plant installed in 2002, because with the scrubbers, it ranked 12th in worst pollution — in fact, Gavin’s pollution actually increased from 2007 to 2008.

I also hope the Gavin scrubbers aren’t the advanced scrubbers that they claimed counted as “advanced technology” when they applied for a $30 million loan from advanced-energy project funds in February 2009. I explained why it was lame back then, and it’s still counter-productive to think scrubbers are the future of advanced energy.

This is why people need to reduce their energy use, why we need to focus on energy efficiency in policy and products, and why we need to start supplementing renewable energy for at least some coal use. If in just one year a power plant can double its mercury emissions, imagine what the air, the water and the fish from rivers and lakes are going to be like in another year, or in five years.

Too bad we never hear of the opposite happening in one year — it would be pretty great if power plants were as good at decreasing their pollution as they are at increasing it. Same with people.

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One Response to “Ohio ranks high in mercury pollution from coal plants”

  1. Don Blankenship Says:

    Coal-fired power plants are the largests single source of carbon pollution, yet they .New Report Ranks States and Power Plants for Mercury Pollution the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania rank first among states for the highest emissions of mercury pollution from power plants.

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