'/> Uncommon Hours: Sierra Club: Coal plants emit excessive pollution in Kansas City, Kan.
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Sierra Club: Coal plants emit excessive pollution in Kansas City, Kan.

Sierra Club plans legal action against BPU for air permit violations that may harm public health

Kansas City, Kan. – The Sierra Club will today notify the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) that it intends to file suit against the utility to address excessive amounts of air pollution from the smoke stacks of its Nearman Creek and Quindaro coal-fired electric plants in Kansas City.

“The amount of pollution these plants are currently emitting into the air residents breathe exceeds a permit limit set by state and federal agencies,” said Scott Allegrucci, Campaign Representative for Sierra Club. “This limit was established to protect public health, and BPU needs to address the violation.”

The Sierra Club’s notice of intent to sue charges that BPU frequently exceeds the 20 percent opacity limit specified in BPU’s air quality permits, based on evidence from BPU’s own pollution monitors. Opacity monitors in the stacks of each power plant continuously project a beam of light across the inside of the stack to measure the darkness of the plume, and therefore the amount of particulate matter. If more than 20 percent of the light is absorbed or deflected by the pollution, the opacity limit has been exceeded.

“BPU is using the same type of particulate controls that it installed over forty years ago at Quindaro,” said Craig Volland, Chair of the Kansas Sierra Club Chapter’s Air Quality Committee. “It’s time for BPU to join the modern world of pollution controls.”

Unlike many other power plants in the country, BPU has not installed the latest technology at Nearman Creek and Quindaro.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), particles, especially fine particles, aggravate asthma, decrease lung function, and can lead to chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks and premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Children and older adults are the most vulnerbale to particle pollution exposure.

“My daughter has asthma and it upsets me that BPU is emitting any more pollution than their permit allows,” said Delores Daniels, a member of the Executive Committee of the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club. Daniels lives less than two miles from the Quindaro Power Station.

Both the Nearman Creek and Quindaro power stations are located in the Missouri River valley, just north of the most densely populated part of Wyandotte County, Kansas. There are no monitors in the immediate vicinity of either plant that could measure the particle concentrations at ground level where people breathe the air.

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