WASHINGTON, D.C. - Clear the Air, the National Campaign Against Dirty Power, today released a new study showing the health impacts of pollution from the oldest, dirtiest coal-burning power plants that the federal government has charged with violating the Clean Air Act.
According to the new report Power to Kill, every year at least 5,500 and as many as 9,000 Americans have their lives shortened by pollution from power plants that the U.S. Department of Justice has taken to court for violating the Clean Air Act. At the same time, these plants trigger at least 107,000 and as many as 170,000 asthma attacks. Power to Kill was written by the Clean Air Task Force and based on research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) own consultants.
"The fact is that every single day, the pollution from many of the oldest and dirtiest power plants are shortening thousands of lives and endangering our health," said Conrad Schneider of the Clean Air Task Force, author of the report and spokesman for Clear the Air. "What's worse is that many of these deaths result from illegal pollution increases. By circumventing public health protections under the Clean Air Act, several of the country's biggest power companies have increased the amount of pollution they belch into the air without using better pollution controls. As this study shows, that gives these power plants the Power to Kill."
Hundreds of coal-fired power plants in operation today are decades old, and have avoided modern pollution controls because of a "grandfathering" loophole. These plants fail to meet modern pollution standards for smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) or for sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes deadly fine particle pollution.
A key provision of the Clean Air Act says that if power companies upgrade their plants in a way that increases pollution, they must improve their pollution controls, too. However, many of these plants have ignored this provision, which is why the U.S. Department of Justice brought legal action to force them to clean up. Power to Kill shows that nationally:
Pollution from the plants that are the targets of enforcement actions shortens the lives of between 5,500 and 9,000 people each year;
Requiring these plants to meet modern pollution standards would avoid 4,300 to 7,000 of these deaths;
Each year, pollution from these plants triggers 107,000 and 170,000 asthma attacks;
At least 80,000 and as many as 120,000 of these asthma attacks would be avoided if the EPA required the plants to meet modern pollution standards.
The Bush energy plan released in May, however, throws the future of these lawsuits into doubt. The plan not only questions whether these enforcement actions should continue, but also questions whether the law itself should be weakened.
"Americans need to let President Bush know that we are aware of the dangers posed by these illegally-polluting power plants," said Angela Ledford, Director of Clear the Air. "Lives are literally at stake, and if the president is serious about protecting public health and the environment, he needs to enforce the law."
Download Power to Kill Large File.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file.
Disclaimer: HiddenMysteries and/or the donor of this material may or may not agree with all the data or conclusions of this data. It is presented and reported here 'as is' for your benefit and research. Material for these pages are sent to HiddenMysteries from around the world. If by chance there is a copyrighted article posted which the author does not want read, email the webmaster and it will be removed. HiddenMysteries and/or the donor of this material does not offer or provide any medical opinion, medical endorsement and/or medical advice as would be defined in law, legal code, legal policy, administrative rules and regulations.