Kids, or Coal? Maryland Tries to Decide
In case your subscription has lapsed, Power magazine ("Business and Technology for the Global Generation Industry") has named the C. P. Crane coal-fired power plant in Middle River, Maryland, as one of its "2012 POWER Top Plants." It also won the coveted "Plant of the Year" award from the Powder River Basin Coal Users' Group--presumably because Constellation Energy just spent $70 million retooling it to burn highly combustible subbituminous coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Constellation's parent company, Exelon, is now seeking to sell the plant and two others to Riverstone Holdings LLC, but the deal can't go through unless the Maryland's Department of the Environment (MDE) agrees to transfer their pollution permits.
The problem is that, despite its awards from the coal industry, Charles P. Crane could emit sulfur dioxide pollution resulting in levels more than four times what the EPA has deemed safe. The Sierra Club has released a report showing how pollution from the Crane, along with the nearby Herbert A. Wagner plant, can affect the more than 35,000 kids suffering from asthma in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. The graphic above shows the schools, health facilities, and parks within the plant's toxic plume.
The Sierra Club is calling on the MDE to refuse to transfer the plant's right to pollute in excess of EPA standards or--better yet--for Riverstone Holdings to retire the Crane and Wagner plants. More on the Maryland Beyond Coal campaign here.
*This post has been corrected. The modeling done for the Sierra Club report measures SO2 concentrations in the air, not emissions from the Crane plant.