Report Finds Dominion Resources’ State Line Coal Plant Caused Up To $720 Million in Health Damages Since 2002
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Environmental Law and Policy Center Explains Dominion Resources’ “Unpaid Health Bills”: The Hidden Public Costs of Soot and Smog from the State Line Coal Plant
Pollution from Dominion Resources’ State Line coal plant on the Illinois-Indiana border and along the Lake Michigan shores has caused up to $720 million in health and related damages in the last 8 years, according to a report released today by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). The report uses data from the National Research Council finding that particulate matter (soot) from the State Line coal plant creates about $77 million in health and related damages annually which are imposed on the public. Overall, this coal plant has created between $540 million and $720 million in public health damages and costs since 2002.
“The State Line coal plant is polluting our air, harming our health and draining our wallets,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “It’s time for Dominion Resources to be socially responsible and invest in modern pollution control equipment to clean up this old plant up, or shut it down. Enough is enough.”
The State Line coal plant is located on the Illinois/Indiana border, just 13 miles from downtown Chicago and along the Lake Michigan shoreline. About 78,000 people live within three miles of the plant. This coal plant continues to operate with much equipment built between 1955 and 1962, and Dominion Resources, the plant owner, has not installed modern pollution controls such as scrubbers.
ELPC’s report, Dominion Resources’ “Unpaid Health Bills”: The Hidden Public Costs of Soot and Smog from the State Line Coal Plant,” examines recent scientific research on the health effects of soot and smog pollution from coal plants. Numerous authoritative scientific panels have found that particulate matter pollution from coal plants harms public health, causing various health detriments including premature death, heart attacks, and cardiovascular and respiratory disease. The personal hardship and economic impact of these health problems is borne by the public.
The report adds new information to the debate on how coal plants in Illinois and Indiana should be operated and regulated. U.S. EPA initiated an enforcement action against the State Line coal plant in 2009, citing 4,770 minutes of opacity (“soot and smoke”) violations between 2004 and 2008. In September 2010, ELPC and other health and environmental groups filed a notice of intent to sue Dominion Resources for repeatedly violating the amount of soot and smoke the plant is allowed to emit under the Clean Air Act.
“Soot and smog from the State Line coal plant is making us sick and costing us hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Learner. “Cleaning them up is the right thing to do for our environment and our economy.”