Groups oppose Wash. state coal-fired power plant on mercury emissions

January 31, 2011 

Calls for TransAlta to reduce emissions grew louder last week as an environmental group released a report detailing what it called an "extremely dangerous" level of mercury at the coal-fired power plant, about a month before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose new mercury-emission requirements.

Environment Washington, a citizen-driven environmental advocacy group, held a news conference Thursday at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Seattle office, in which it released findings in a report titled “Dirty Energy’s Assault on Our Health: Mercury.” The report warned about the effects of mercury contamination in the food and water supply.

Using data reported by TransAlta and compiled in the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory database online, the report ranked TransAlta’s Centralia plant 125th with 361 pounds of mercury emitted in 2009. That was out of 134,365 pounds emitted nationwide.

The local number is unacceptable, Environment Washington field associate Kristen Dumas said.

“Washingtonians love the outdoors, and to think a number of people are relying on dirty coal that emits mercury into our most beloved places is just sad,” she said.

“The data backs us up in calling on the EPA to enforce standards until the state of Washington comes up with its own plan for emissions statewide.”

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