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Now THIS will make you SICK....
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by Beth Little | 2006

A final air pollution permit was issued by the WV DEP for the Greenbrier Power Plant, and it is enough (pollution) to make you sick...very sick.

A final Air Pollution Permit for the Western Greenbrier Co-Generation power plant was issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in April. This permit allows the facility to emit:

· 632 tons per year of sulfur dioxide (contributes to acid rain),

· 527 tons per year of nitrogen oxides (creates ozone “smog”),

· 135 tons per year of fine particulates (PM10) (respiratory and heart diseases), and

· 16 pounds per year of mercury (birth and developmental effects in babies).

The CoGen plant in western Greenbrier with the prevailing winds to the east will dump Mercury and SO2(acid rain) & Fly Ash into the life of children and organic gardens in Greenbrier County.

The Greenbrier County area is already near federal health standards for air pollutants.

Mercury, one of the primary pollutants released by the processing of waste coal, is believed by many experts to be a leading contributor to the development of autism in children. (“Mercury is a potent neurotoxin shown to cause lowered intelligence and learning and memory problems even at low levels of exposure.” —Autistic Society) The CDC recognizes this, and the EPA released the Clean Air Mercury Rule on March 15, 2005, directed at reducing mercury emissions from coalfired power plants.

Fly Ash, a by-product of burning waste coal, is a fine particulate with high concentrations of radiation and arsenic, both cancer-causing agents. This particulate can easily enter the environment as airborne particles or by leaching into local water supplies.

Community Impact: Individual property values will suffer living in the shadows of a waste coal power plant. What was once an extremely appealing area to live may soon be looked upon as a toxic region to be avoided. There will be many more coal trucks on the road.

Because this plant is a “demonstration”, it is likely to be followed by more plants (5 more are proposed in surrounding counties).

Significantly reduced air pollution emissions must be required for the Western Greenbrier Co-generation facility; however. the WV-DEP ignored citizen comments to tighten emission limits. We have requested the following changes to the permit:

·Better pollution controls are feasible and commercially available, and must be properly evaluated for the WGC facility.

·The permit should require lower emission levels for nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter.

·Enforceable emission limits should also be established for hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids, ammonia, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, nickel and selenium.

·Improved monitoring of these pollutants should be required.

·Reasonable limits on the time allowed for start-ups and shutdowns should be required, because emission limits during these periods are less stringent.

· Practical steps should be implemented to prepare the facility for the inevitable limits on emissions of greenhouse gases.

We, the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club, has appealed the issuance of this air pollution permit by WV-DEP, and the Appalachian Center has agreed to be our lawyer. There will also be an EIS to comment on later this summer. 20 people came to a meeting in Lewisburg and volunteered for a variety of tasks to gather information and get the word out to the community. The next meeting will be June 29. If you would like to help, contact Beth Little, or 304-653-4277.

Our most immediate need is to raise funds for legal expenses such as expert witness fees, documents. Contributions can be mailed to the West Virginia Sierra Club, PO Box 4142, Morgantown, WV 26504 (please include a note saying what the donation is for).

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