Coal plants are dirty
News comes today that construction of the Turk Power Plant in Hempstead County by SWEPCO has negatively impacted wetlands in the area. Talk Business reports:
SWEPCO says it reported the potential impacts on March 9 and met with Corps officials at the site on March 17. Following that visit, the Corps’ Vicksburg District directed SWEPCO to cease further work that would impact wetlands or waters under the Corps’ jurisdiction and informed SWEPCO that it would refer the issue to the EPA. The potential impacts total approximately 2.5 acres, subject to further evaluation.
Statements have been issued by environmental groups. Ken Smith, director of Audubon Arkansas had this to say:
“We are disappointed but unfortunately not surprised with SWEPCO’s announcement of their infringement on nearby wetlands today. Audubon Arkansas has been concerned with the plant’s impact on the ecologically sensitive Little River Bottoms from the beginning. Indeed, it is a primary reason for our opposition to the plant.
We expressed our concerns much earlier than March to the US Army Corps of Engineers as to how construction was developing near the wetlands. So, while we applaud their decision to halt construction in the area, we feel action should have been taken earlier. This incident only reinforces our belief that all construction on the Turk plant should be halted permanently.”
Read the response from the Sierra Club on the jump.
From Joe Sundell of the Sierra Club:
“We view this as a token gesture from SWEPCO to avoid an impending lawsuit from Sierra Club and Audubon. The serious wetlands damage that occurs during construction is in addition to what will happen if the plant becomes operational: Over the plant’s 50 year lifespan, it would emit over 15,000 pounds of mercury with the technology they’re saying they’ll use. The damage this will do to the Little River Bottoms, one of Arkansas’s pristine wetlands areas, is unspeakable. SWEPCO should not be allowed to build a dirty coal plant next door to one of Arkansas’s natural treasures.”