Indiana Clean Energy Campaign
A coalition of environmental and public health groups including regional, state and national organizations today delivered a letter to IDEM Commissioner Lori Kaplan seeking "IDEM's commitment to undertake a comprehensive assessment of Clifty Creek's air, water and solid waste while analyzing whether or not the continued operation of the facility is in the public's interest."
Clifty Creek, located in Madison, Indiana "is one of Indiana's largest, dirtiest and oldest coal fired power plants Coming on-line in 1955 to serve a single customer--the now defunct uranium enrichment facility operated by the U.S Department of Energy in Portsmouth, Ohio- Clifty Creek today is nothing more than an incredibly old and dirty "merchant" plant," according to John Blair, president of Valley Watch, Inc., a group whose purpose is to "protect the public health and environment of the lower Ohio River Valley.
Richard Hill, president of Madison based Save the Valley, Inc. asserts that Clifty Creek is a health hazard for people living near the facility due its large levels of emissions. "39,164 tons a year of sulfur dioxide, more than 3,000 tons of particle matter and 31, 133 tons of smog forming nitrogen oxides have had a huge impact on the health of area residents. And, on top of that a fifth of a ton of toxic mercury is released which is known to cause developmental damage to kids as they grow. This level of emissions should be stopped. At the very least it should be comprehensively assessed."
Clifty Creek sits adjacent to one if Indiana's greatest natural treasures, Clifty Falls State Park. "It is a shame that visitors to Clifty Falls must endure all this pollution when they come to the Park, What was the State of Indiana thinking when they allowed Clifty Creek to be built between the Park and the Ohio River?" asks Andy Knott, Air and Energy Director for the state wide Hoosier Environmental Council.
The letter, hand delivered to Kaplan's office this morning seeks greater citizen participation and a more comprehensive review than IDEM has to do by simply reviewing an air or water permit. Already, the Indiana Clean Energy Campaign (ICE) has filed an administrative appeal of a recently issued solid waste landfill permit that was issued in December without any opportunity for public comment or participation.
"We feel it is imperative to take this comprehensive approach to dealing with Clifty Creek because it is such a huge source of so many pollutants and it has never been subject to any kind of comprehensive analysis. Clifty Creek was built prior to the myriad environmental laws that new facilities must face in order to get permits. This plant is nearly fifty years old and has never been subjected to any kind of thorough analysis," states the letter to Kaplan.
It is time for that to change. According to Blair, "This plant is so old that it is time for it to be subject to at least some of the scrutiny a new and cleaner plant would have. A comprehensive environmental and health assessment would help educate the public to the impacts Clifty Creek has on the people and environment downwind and downstream."
John Blair, Valley Watch: 812-480-8193
Richard Hill, Save the Valley: 812-265-2580, Ext. 4156
Andy Knott, Hoosier Environmental Council: 317-685-8800