Photo: Duke Energy (Flickr)
Indiana is ranked in the top five filthy states for the amount of power plant pollution it releases into the air each year, according to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project or EIP that was released today. Indiana relies heavily on coal for its energy, and the EIP report singled the state out as producing high amounts of chromium and nickel, which can cause respiratory problems and in extreme cases lung cancer.
EIP Associate Director Ilan Levin says it is no longer acceptable for power plants to produce these dangerous pollutants.
“The bottom line is there just is no excuse to not clean up this pollution,” he says. “We know that reductions are easily available that the pollution control technology has been around in some cases decades.”
The report provided information from more than 400 power plants in all 50 states and highlighted a number of plants in Indiana. Duke Energy Plants in Terre Haute and Owensville ranked particularly high in arsenic levels. But Duke Energy spokesperson Angeline Proteger says the Owensville plant is one of the largest in the nation, so it’s going to produce more pollutants.
“It’s also the station where we have made the greatest investments in reducing air emissions,” she says. “At that station alone we have invested over a billion dollars over the last ten years to reduce air emissions.”
The federal Environmental Protection Agency plans to come out with stricter regulations on power plants next week. The EIP says the regulations could decrease pollution emissions by 90 percent. Energy companies say they are preparing for the new rules but warn this could significantly increase their customers’ energy bills.