By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A total of 18 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-fired power plants will be taken offline thanks to a recent agreement. The plants will be phased out entirely no later than 2018 per the agreement made between TVA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the states of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The agreement also calls for TVA to spend $3-$5 billion upgrading pollution controls. TVA must also pay $10 million in civil penalties as follows: $8 million to EPA, $1 million to the state of Tennessee, $500,000 to the state of Alabama and $500,000 to the state of Kentucky.
“This agreement will save lives and prevent billions of dollars in health costs,” said Lisa P. Jackson, EPA administrator. “Modernizing these plants and encouraging clean energy innovation means better health protections and greater economic opportunities for the people living near TVA facilities. Investments in pollution control equipment will keep hundreds of thousands of tons of harmful pollutants out of the air we breathe, and help create green job opportunities that will reduce pollution and improve energy efficiency.”
Tom Kilgore, TVA president and CEO, commented, “Diversity proved to be the most prudent course in meeting future energy needs in all the various future scenarios we studied. A variety of electricity sources, rather than heavy reliance on any single source, reduces long-term risks and helps keep costs steady and predictable.”
The agreement calls for TVA to close two units at John Sevier Fossil Plant near Rogersville, Tenn., all 10 units at Johnsonville Fossil Plant near Waverly, Tenn., and six units at Widows Creek Fossil Plant near Stevenson, Ala.
EPA officials state that nitrous oxide emissions will be reduced by 115,977 tons per year (69 percent) and sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced by 225,757 tons per year (67 percent reduction).
Many say this move will help improve the air pollution and ozone problem in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – the nation’s most visited national park and one that has been on the NPCA “Most Endangered National Parks” list due to poor air quality.
“For decades, the Smoky Mountains has suffered from a slow motion crisis,” commented Don Barger, NPCA senior regional director. “Air pollution from TVA’s coal-fired power plants has degraded scenic vistas, damaged plant species, and impaired human health.” He said the settlement “sends us in the right direction.”
Mary Ann Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, said, “By phasing out the most dangerous coal plants and charting a course focused on less pollution and more clean energy, TVA is demonstrating that we don’t have to choose between clean air and affordable energy – we can and must have both.”
TVA also introduced its new Integrated Resource Plan which, according to officials, “recommends a strategic direction focusing on a diverse mix of electricity generation sources, including nuclear power, renewable energy, natural gas and energy efficiency, as well as traditional coal and hydroelectric power.”
According to the EPA, TVA currently operates “59 coal-fired boilers at 11 plants in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.”
EPA relates the following power plants are involved in the settlement:
* Allen Fossil Plant near Memphis, Tenn.
* Bull Run Fossil Plant near Oak Ridge, Tenn.
* Colbert Fossil Plant in Tuscumbia, Ala.
* Cumberland Fossil Plant in Cumberland City, Tenn.
* Gallatin Fossil Plant in Gallatin, Tenn.
* John Sevier Fossil Plant near Rogersville, Tenn.
* Johnsonville Fossil Plant near Waverly, Tenn.
* Kingston Fossil Plant near Kingston, Tenn.
* Paradise Fossil Plant near Drakesboro, KY
* Shawnee Fossil Plant near Paducah, KY
* Widows Creek Fossil Plant near Stevenson, Ala.