Skip to comments.POWER PLANTS CITED AS CHIEF CAUSE (of soot deaths)
Posted on 06/10/2004 6:43:00 AM PDT by toddst
Kentucky is No. 2 in the nation in the estimated rate of deaths caused by soot from coal-fired power plants, according to a report released yesterday.
The other states in the top five, including No. 1 West Virginia, all border Kentucky.
"Dirty Air, Dirty Power" was produced by an advocacy group called Clear the Air. It says soot, also called fine particle pollution, cuts short the lives of nearly 24,000 Americans each year. In Kentucky, the estimated toll is 745 deaths a year.
The problem is especially bad in Kentucky and neighboring states because coal-fired plants dominate the region, said Angela Ledford, Clear the Air's director.
"We used to think 'Oh, that pollution blows away, so, it's going to affect people in the northeast,'" Ledford said. "But per capita, you're having more severe impacts because of living near those plants."
More than 3.3 million of Kentucky's 4 million residents live within 30 miles of a power plant, the report says.
The report, which advocates stricter pollution controls than those supported by the Bush administration, was immediately attacked by the electric power industry, which supports the president's policy.
"This report, like its list of tired predecessors, cherry picks and distorts the science related to particulate matter and health effects," said Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, an industry association.
He said "some of the most comprehensive research" linking soot to health problems suggests that power plants aren't the source of the problem.
Ledford said, however, that Clear the Air relied on the same research methods used by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The estimates of health effects were determined by Abt Associates, a consulting firm used by the EPA.
Dirty Air compares the Bush administration's "Clear Skies" program with several other proposals for dealing with power plant pollution, including one championed by Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vermont.
Neither plan has been able to attract a majority in Congress.
Environmentalists say the Clear Skies plan would be less stringent than the Clean Air Act and give power plants longer to comply.
Riedinger, the industry spokesman, disputes that also. He says the administration proposal, which would use a "cap and trade" method to encourage pollution reductions, could mean a faster cleanup.
The Dirty Air report says implementing the Jeffords bill would avoid 22,000 of the estimated annual 24,000 power plant-related deaths.
The Bush plan, the report says, would mean more deaths than a faithful following of the Clean Air Act.
Although no plan has won enough congressional support to become law, the EPA is requiring Kentucky to weaken air quality regulations, said Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council.
The numbers for pollution-caused deaths in Dirty Air are based on computer models that take into account how much pollution plants release, readings by air quality monitors, and studies that link pollution with health problems.
That method screens out pollution not related to power plants. So California, which has plenty of dirty air from automobile exhausts, fares much better than Kentucky in the Dirty Air report.
California's estimated deaths from power plants is 249, a third of Kentucky's 745.
And the most dangerous city, in terms of per capita deaths from power plant pollution, is not smoggy Los Angeles, but Wheeling, W.Va.
In addition to deaths, the Dirty Air report says, power plant pollution also causes increased numbers of heart attacks, hospital visits, asthma attacks and lost work days.
Riedinger said Dirty Air is "designed to scare the public, impugn the power sector, and undermine the administration's pollution-cutting programs."
Ledford said she hopes it stimulates discussion on an air quality debate that has been largely ignored.
"I think what we've seen in the last four years is a huge step backwards, even in the way we're talking about it," she said
Agreed. One form of power that solves most problems (as pointed out in another post) is nuclear. I hope George W. will push for nuclear after he's re-elected.
Candles and kerosene indoors for light and cooking! Talk about soot floating around!
Heck, just the extra accidental fires will probably kill more people than this "report" claims from power plant soot.
I think you're on to something.
Many years ago I worked at a power plant while I was in college.
One of the things they did every day was to "blow soot". The procedure was to send a huge blast of compressed air up the stacks to remove soot which had accumulated during the day.
This was always the first task of the graveyard shift operator, which meant that it happened at midnight every single day, effectively preventing anyone from seeing the huge cloud of soot being released. Even on the clearest nights, the stars could not be seen for 1/2 hour after blowing soot.
I am not for that. Far too messy and a very dirty bomb sitting on our soil. Better ways to go about it than nuclear.
Golly, do you think it is possible that pollution controls might have improved things since "many years ago?"
Not really. Coal or nuc are the only practical options, but what do you think are the "better ways?"
I highly suspect this is a static analysis that does not take into account the incentives under the Clear Skies plan that would result in a faster reduction in soot. A static analysis was used during Reagans term and for Bush's latest tax cut to project increasing deficits due to tax cuts.
Maybe, maybe not. Soot is very hard to control.
I bet you had never heard of the practice of "blowing soot", and I bet they still do it at midnight.
TRANSLATION: We're All GONNA DIE!
First, we can tap into our own oil reserves. Second, we could make cars much more efficient without compromise to occupant comfort and safety. Third, we could make homes much more efficient without significant added expense.
Are these things enough. I'm not sure. I do know that at our home our electric bill averages $48.00 a month while my neighbors are paying $180 a month average. That's a pretty big difference and if everyone did that, certainly it would make an impact.
No sense arguing with nuc-o-phobes, Dude. They get all the scientific knowledge they need from Jane Fonda movies.
As noted above, there is more radioactivity generated by coal powered plants than by all the nuclear generating activity in the history of the earth. Hell, people living in Denver are exposed to more radioactivity on a single sunny day than was released by Three Mile Island (which, BTW, worked as designed in an emergency).
Heard from DIH lately?
Right on target. And how many of them smoked?
Here we agree - long overdue
Second, we could make cars much more efficient without compromise to occupant comfort and safety.
How? Only way is to decrease power or decrease weight or both. Decreasing power makes them unsafe, and decreasing weight beyond where we are now is either unsafe (really small car) or incredibly expensive (carbon fiber body)
Third, we could make homes much more efficient without significant added expense.
Again How? Insulation costs money. Newer air and heat units aren't cheap either.
Nary a word. He has an id here, but never posts. I sure miss the old PO'd forums. I think uncle Bill posts here from time to time too.
Granted that soot is hard to control and that blowing soot off various surfaces improves combustion processes to control other pollutants and reduce overall cost. I'll bet they did it at midnight so they didn't have to field calls.
What set me off was the implication that the power company is somehow irresponsible. Because we have centralized power production we have less pollution overall than we did when everyone burned whatever and the power production we have keeps getting cleaner by little tiny steps. When you burn things to get energy you will have unwanted byproducts be they soot, fly ash, heat, or radioactive compounds. Question is which poses least overall risk compared to benefits.
POd is back, in a new incarnation. It just ain't the same, though.
You stay sane out there. I'll be in Cartersville week after next. I'll bet it's hot'rn hades, eh?
PS there is a very large coal fired plant in Cartersville - Plant Bowen. They may give tours. When I worked for the power company I got to wander around there pretty much unsupervised - neat place.
OK, what did you do differently from your neighbors?