Friday, July 8, 2011

EPA announces new air pollution limits for coal-fired plants

ST. LOUIS, MO (ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced new limits on air pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The rule aims to lower emissions from power plants in 27 states including Missouri and Illinois.

The new rule requires states to reduce power plant emissions that produce soot and smog leading to asthma, heart attacks, and other health problems and improve air quality downwind.

Ameren spokesperson Susan Gallagher says the company is still figuring out what the new regulation means for its eleven coal-fired power plants in Missouri and Illinois.

But she says some Ameren plants have already installed air pollution controls.

"We would believe that we’re at a good baseline to minimize the impact of this rule, but it’s a little different from the proposed rule in that it appears that the EPA has made the final rule more difficult for power plants to comply," Gallagher said.

Missouri Coalition for the Environment director Kathleen Logan Smith says the regulation will keep power plants from exporting their air pollution out of state.

"Because the approach for power plants for decades was if you wanted your pollution to go away you just made your stack taller, so it went further away to the next guy downwind, Logan Smith said. "This is going to address that issue, this is going to help stop that."

According to the EPA, air pollution from Missouri and Illinois can travel as far as Pennsylvania and Texas.

Power plants will need to comply with the new pollution limits starting in January.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio


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