Give Now

Sierra Club Calls For More Control On Coal Plant Emissions

A Sierra Club report indicates 16 coal plants in Indiana are discharging toxic metals into rivers.

coal plant

Photo: Dave Emerson (flickr)

The Sierra Club says coal-fired power plants are not regulated strictly enough, but energy companies say they are abiding by all federal mandates.

The Sierra Club is proposing tighter restrictions on the pollution control standards for coal-fired power plants.

A report, which was released Tuesday and uses U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, cites 16 of Indiana’s 19 plants are discharging toxic metals, including arsenic, boron, mercury and selenium, into the White, Ohio and Wabash Rivers.

Sierra Club officials say existing national standards on coal plant water pollution are 31 years old and do not set limits on many pollutants.

“Coal plants enjoy a loophole,” says Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce. “Coal plants are in fact the number one source of toxic water pollution discharged into our lakes and rivers, so if we want to clean up those toxics and those heavy metals in one fell swoop, we go to the biggest source and those are the coal-fired power plants.”

The Sierra Club’s “Indiana Beyond Coal” campaign is seeking standards that would limit the amount of chemicals dumped into waterways. The standards would also require all coal plants to monitor and report the amounts of toxins dumped.

Duke Energy is one of the companies named in the report. Officials there say they have not had time to review the report thoroughly but they question its legitimacy because the report states the Duke Energy plant in Cayuga is running on a year-old state permit.

A Duke Energy spokesperson Angeline Protogere says that plant was issued a new permit in March of this year. She says the company also tracks all of their power plants’ emissions on a daily basis to make sure they do not exceed allowable levels.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to update its standards on coal-fired power plants. The department has not announced any details of that plan.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Environment Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook