Pollution from Salem Plant Up According to New Data HealthLink and CLF Call for Faster Adoption of Emissions Controls

Brian Barth

Salem, MA (March 30, 2007) Hazardous air pollution from Dominion Energy’s Salem power plant increased 37% in 2005, making it the second worst polluting plant in the state, according to data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The new data prompted HealthLink and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) to call on Dominion to move faster in implementing pollution controls that are required in the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the two groups.

“This plant has been blanketing generations of our community with poisons for over a half century, all while the technology has existed to run much cleaner.” said Lori Ehrlich of HealthLink.

Pollutants released from power plants include ammonia, acids, metals, and organic chemicals like dioxin. Metals and dioxin can accumulate in the environment, animals and people, causing neurological damage and other health problems.

“This increase is of considerable concern since the plant is under agreement to reduce pollution levels. The toxics released damage our health through the air we all breathe, our drinking water and our food supply. Dominion owes the public an explanation as to why the increase happened and what they are doing about it,” added Jane Bright of HealthLink

The emissions data for 2005 was released last week by EPA under the Toxic Release Inventory, which covers chemicals released to the air, water and land by power plants, manufacturers and other facilities. The report shows:

– Three of the “filthy 5” (top 5 most polluting power plants in MA) showed increases in the total amount of pollution released in 2005 as compared to 2004.

– Overall Salem’s power plant showed an increase of 14% in emissions to the air since last year.

– Statewide, electric utilities generated more than 3.8 million pounds of toxic pollution.

– Power plants are responsible for nearly 60% of all toxic pollution released to the air in Massachusetts .

The environmental advocates also called for a renewed focus on investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, like wind and solar, to reduce the region’s dependence on coal.

“This newest round of pollutant data shows fossil fuel-fired power plants like Dominion’s Salem Plant come at a very high price to the health of humans and the environment,” said Cynthia Liebman, a CLF staff attorney. “By moving toward energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy sources we will benefit not only by addressing global warming, but also by stopping the release of millions of pounds of toxins into the air and water.”

The new round of data also showed that mercury emissions have decreased slightly as a result of mercury controls advocated for by groups like CLF and Healthlink.

More information on the data released by EPA: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/dc614f1d30c3fd66852572a000657b5a/5203a023f5
5376f2852572a6006d27db!OpenDocument

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