Spewing Out Mercury
These three power plants cause a giant share of America’s mercury pollution.
In Ireland, poor people used to burn peat from fuel. Barely a step ahead of that, some American power plants burn semi-fossilized peat (lignite) to run their generators. It seems that those power plants produce a couple of third of all of the toxic mercury emissions of the complete industry. Much more remarkably, about half of those mercury emissions come from just three power plants spewing toxic smoke. Here the tawdry trio of polluters.
The primary of the toxic trio is the Oak Grove power plant, which is situated between Dallas and Austin. It’s in Robertson county, which is about 40% black and Hispanic, with about 20% of the population below the poverty line. The plant is owned by Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra, which has the excellence of being the very best CO2 emitter within the country. It also emits about 260 kilos of toxic mercury a yr.
The Martin Lake power plant can also be owned by Luminant. It emits about 350 kilos of mercury a yr. The plant is situated in Rusk County in east Texas, which is about two-thirds white and has about 10% below the poverty line.
Coal Creek, the biggest power plant in North Dakota, also emits about 350 kilos a yr. The plant is “proudly owned” (the corporate’s own language) by Rainbow Energy Center, a reputation that’s roughly reminiscent of putting lipstick on a pig. The one blessing is that roughly nobody seems to live within the vicinity, though the plant’s emissions waft eastward toward Minnesota.
Combined these three plants alone emit near a thousand kilos of mercury per yr, out of a U.S. total of six thousand kilos. Additionally they emit unknown amounts of other toxic metals. The health impacts of mercury most prominently include neurological damages to children and developing fetuses. Mercury can even cause cardiovascular damage, endocrine disruption, diabetes risk, and weakened immune systems.
Power plants burning lignite get favored treatment under the present mercury regulation. EPA’s recent rule would eliminate this case, bringing the toxic emissions from Martin Lake, Coal Creek, and Oak Grove under control. It’s about time.