Today, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the state Department of Environmental Protection announced that they have settled claims over violations of air quality at the Mt. Tom Power Plant in Holyoke, MA.
“CLF is gratified to see the State take enforcement action to address the violations that were uncovered at Mt. Tom,” said staff attorney Shanna Cleveland. “Particulate matter is one of the deadliest air pollutants emitted by coal-fired power plants, and is a major contributor to the poor air quality that is sickening residents in Holyoke and surrounding communities. The State’s insistence on continuous monitoring is an important step toward ensuring that the plant cannot continue to violate emissions limits with impunity.”
Particulate matter is responsible for a wide range of health impacts, including heart disease, lung damage and an increased risk of lung cancer. The asthma rate in Holyoke is more than twice the statewide average of 10.8 percent.
Cleveland continued, “This enforcement action is a step in the right direction, but even with the pollution controls recently installed at Mt. Tom, the plant has continued to emit harmful pollution and violate emissions limits. Despite their significant investment in technology to clean this plant up, the reality is that a 50-year-old coal plant cannot be modernized enough to run in compliance with the law, and moreover, cannot run efficiently, or economically. The only way to stop Mt. Tom from polluting the air and making people sick is for it to shut down. We need to be thinking less about how to keep old, polluting coal plants operating and more about how to get our electricity from clean, renewable energy.” More >