SAN FRANCISCO - August 11 - The day after President Bush signed an energy bill giving massive subsidies for new coal-fired power plants, public health concerns stopped the largest coal-plant proposal in the United States dead in its tracks. On Tuesday, Hearing Officer Janet B. Thompson ruled that the Thoroughbred power plant, proposed in KY, hadn't considered the most modern pollution reducing technology. She found that the proposed plant wasn't going far enough to reduce soot and smog pollution. The 1500 megawatt plant is the largest new proposed coal-burning plant in the country and is part of a plan-the Coal Rush--to build 100 new plants in the next decade.
"This is a victory for all Americans who breathe the air, and shows that the Bush administration is moving in the wrong direction with their misguided energy policy. We need clean energy solutions, not more dirty coal plants that put our children at risk," said Bruce Nilles, Midwest Representative of the Sierra Club. He added, "Talking about 'cleaner coal' is like talking about 'cleaner cigarettes,'-you still don't want your kids breathing in the pollution from either. It is high time for Peabody to abandon its plans to build an out-dated coal plan and instead invest in innovative 21st Century energy solutions."
Kentucky residents challenged Peabody's proposal in 2001 because it would have added dangerous levels of soot and smog, endangering public health. Around the country, citizens have also raised concerns about how the new coal-rush will put more toxic mercury into our air and water. The Peabody plant would add 12% more mercury in a state where all waterbodies are already laden with dangerous levels of mercury. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that puts children at risk of learning disabilities and developmental disorders, and one in six U.S. women already has enough mercury in her body to put a baby at risk.
"This is not just a Kentucky issue because air pollution knows no boundaries," added Nilles. "The Midwest Coal Rush--of which Peabody is the
posterchild-- not only puts local residents at risk, it will also create a pollution tail pipe that extends all the way to Maine and New Hampshire. We need to invest in clean and safe energy sources-for our families, and for our future."