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Great Lakes Article:

State’s plants among dirtiest
Power plants in Evansville and Floyd County on list of top three polluters.
From The Associated Press
Published May 13, 2005

Coal-burning power plants in Indiana are among the dirtiest in the nation, a study by an environmental group shows.

The Environmental Integrity Project, a Washington-based environmental group, said the dirtiest plants produce just 14 percent of the nation’s power, but up to 50 percent of sulfur dioxide pollution, which causes acid rain and compounds that can carry poisons deep into the lungs. Those plants also release 42 percent of mercury pollution, 40 percent of nitrogen oxides and 35 percent of carbon dioxide, the group said.

Nationwide, the government says, those pollutants kill 20,000 people a year.

“You might say the electric power industry has a dirty secret,” said Ilan Levin, who wrote the report. “What we found was that all electric power generation in the United States is far from equal.”

Indiana had two of the top three polluting plants for sulfur dioxide, measured by pollutants per unit of electricity — Alcoa’s Warrick Power Plant east of Evansville ranked No. 1, and Cynergy/PSI’s Gallagher plant in Floyd County was rated third. Six of the plants listed among the nation’s top 50 were in Indiana.

Alcoa officials, however, dispute the No. 1 ranking, and Levin later acknowledged it is likely too high. The Warrick plant, which supplies electricity to Alcoa’s aluminum smelter next door, has one generating unit it co-owns with another utility. So although all of its pollution was reported, officials said, not all of its electricity was, artificially inflating its pollution rate.

Plainfield-based Cinergy/PSI had three of its power plants among those listed. Company officials said they have spent millions of dollars to clean emissions and are scheduled to spend millions more during the next few years. The utility is spending more than $1 billion to reduce emissions at its Indiana power plants.

Bruce Nilles, representative for the Sierra Clubs Great Lakes Clean Air program, said it is especially disturbing that 11 of the dirtiest power plants are in the Great Lakes region.

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