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The Green Life: CARTOON: Chopper the Power Plant Gobbles Water and Fish

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June 02, 2011

CARTOON: Chopper the Power Plant Gobbles Water and Fish

This week, the Sierra Club teamed up with Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore to draw attention to some of the country's most unregulated energy systems: power plants.

Lined up along waterways, power plants (like grunty Chopper) don't just spew smog into the air, they also suck up more than a billion gallons of water per day each using antiquated once-through cooling systems. And with those billions of gallons, 615 million fish per year get sucked up into the plants and chopped to bits.

Closed-cycle cooling systems could make the plants up to 93% more efficient. But since there's no law compelling the plants to adopt this technology, most haven't.

The EPA recently proposed cooling system guidelines, but it caved to industry pressure and failed to adopt national closed-cycle standards. Instead, frazzled state agencies will evaluate individual plants and decide if they're efficient enough. This weaker policy means the millions of fish killed annually by these systems will likely continue to die.

Watch Fiore's "Fish Chopper" above, then tell the EPA to require cooling towers on power plants. The proposal is open for public comment until July 19.

--Mackerel Dwyer


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