Energy

'Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States' lists top 20 states for toxic air pollution

July 21, 2011

Indiana is the sixth worst state in the production of toxic industrial air pollution, surpassed by only Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky and Maryland.

The assessment was made by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Physicians for Social Responsibility and is based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which is available to the public. The data are reported in Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States, just published, which covers the top 20 states for toxic air pollution.


July 19, 2011

Most people who have studied the issue of "clean coal" easily understand that coal is not clean and really cannot be made so. But that does not keep those who make big money mining and burning the black mineral from making those dubious claims.

Mining coal destroys entire ecosystems, burning it alters our climate, makes people sick and cuts lives short while disposal of its huge volumes of waste contaminates land and water alike.


July 18, 2011

Global climate change is having profound effects on human health.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), by 2020 climate change-induced ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, will cause millions of respiratory illnesses and thousands of hospitalizations for serious breathing problems, including asthma. The cost will be about $5.4 billion.

Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It, by Paul R. Epstein, M.D., and Dan Ferber (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), probes the topic of climate disruption’s effects on health in depth.

Grant Smith retires from CAC, talks about past, present and future

July 15, 2011

Editor's note: Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) Executive Director Grant Smith resigned on June 17 and sat down at his home just south of Broad Ripple in Indianapolis with Bloomington Alternative editor Steven Higgs for a conversation about a variety of topics. Smith started at CAC as a part-time canvasser in 1982. What follows are edited, extended excerpts from their 70-minute discussion.

A version of this story appears in the July 14 issue of NUVO in Indianapolis.

***

Higgs: Do I recall Chris (former CAC executive director Williams) hired you because you wore a suit and tie to the interview?

Smith: No, it was because I didn't. I was in the interview wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. Another guy was in a three-piece suit. Chris was talking to him and not to me. That was in February 1982. CAC was originally the Citizens Energy Coalition and formed in '74. The name was changed to CAC in about '76. The canvass operation began in '79.

Do Kentuckiana toxic releases cause developmental disability in Ohio River Valley children?

July 8, 2011

A new study of California twins with autism strengthens the case that the epidemic that has swept the nation in the past three decades is related to environmental pollution. The damage, its authors suggest, occurs in the womb and during the earliest days of life.

"Increasingly, evidence is accumulating that overt symptoms of autism emerge around the end of the first year of life," say the authors of the study, which was released online July 4 in the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Because the prenatal environment and early postnatal environment are shared between twin individuals, we hypothesize that at least some of the environmental factors impacting susceptibility to autism exert their effect during this critical period of life."

Consumer advocate says Duke ratepayers shouldn't pay for cost overruns

July 8, 2011

In a shocking reversal of position, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) has altered its support for the Duke Energy Edwardsport power plant fiasco.

Just last Nov. 3, OUCC head David Stippler gave the plant and ratepayer support for it a glowing endorsement during a "technical hearing" before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). On July 1, his office modified that endorsement and said ratepayers should no longer be on the hook for the massive cost overruns in the construction of the beleaguered plant, which is now said by Duke to cost more than $3 billion.


May 19, 2011

The idea that possible presidential candidate Mitch Daniels represents fiscal restraint sounds like hogwash to opponents of three pricey projects moving forward on his watch as governor of Indiana.

At Edwardsport, construction cost overruns have skyrocketed at a Duke Energy plant that would convert coal into synthetic gas to generate electricity. Consumer groups and industrial customers have balked at the $2.72 billion bill that Duke wants ratepayers to pick up.

April 13, 2011

With regard to nuclear reactors, Don Lichtenberg operates on the principle that “if things can go wrong, they will -- though not often.”

On March 31, Lichtenberg, professor emeritus of theoretical nuclear physics at Indiana University, spoke at the Monroe County Public Library on lessons on nuclear power that the United States can learn from the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan.

March 29, 2011

A national expert who was instrumental in unraveling the Enron accounting scheme has filed testimony with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) opposing the murky, risk-shifting plan for a coal-gasification plant proposed for Rockport by New York-based Leucadia Corp.

Robert McCullough’s testimony revealed a complicated “derivative” scheme based on the price of various commodities over time. Customers are not paying for service, or a natural gas substitute, but instead are paying for a financial hedge to cover the losses and share in the profits, if any, that the plant’s owners might make. McCullough’s testimony shows that if the contract were in place today, it could lead to a loss to ratepayers of as much as $500 million.


February 27, 2011

A new report released late last week shows that US power plants increased their emissions of climate change causing, carbon dioxide by 5.56 percent in 2010 over that released in 2009.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) study, titled Getting Warmer, showed that Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky ranked fourth, fifth and seventh nationally in the release of the greenhouse gas and that all three significantly increased those releases in 2010.

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