Concerns raised about Wash. state coal pollution in national parks

Conservation groups have petioned the federal government to reduce air pollution from a coal plant that causes haze and poor visibility in Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks.

Washington state's only coal plant, located in Centralia, produces about 10 percent of the electricity used in the state. It also produces more mercury, soot, haze and greenhouse gases than any other stationary source in the state, said Doug Howell of the Sierra Club.

In 1995, the U.S. Department of Interior certified to the Environmental Protection Agency that the Centralia plant was responsible for haze at Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks. In response, plant owners invested more than $200 million in the plant to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 95 percent and particulate matter by 99 percent. The petition filed with Interior on Wednesday urges the federal agencies to require major nitrogen oxide reductions. Nitrogen oxide, a lung irritant, contributes to haze, ozone and acid rain.

Read the full story at