- The latest online issue of ReFocus, "the international renewable energy magazine", reported "....The World Bank will purchase green power for all electricity consumption at its head office in Washington. ....the purchase of green tags will displace the emission of 60,000 tons of CO2."I thought 'Cool"!But after I read this article this morning in the startlegram, I got curious about the amount of Co2 that the TXU coal burning power plant, in the article below, would be offset by the 60 thousand tons worth of World Bank Green Tags above. When I brought up the Co2 page on the Excel worksheet, I was stunned to find that the Monticello coal plant that is #1 in mercury emissions is #20 in Co2 emissions on the North American continent. It produced a staggering 15,619,270 tons in 2002!Please double-check me to be sure I'm reading those numbers correctly. I calculated it to be about 3/8 of 1%.Folks, we have a long way to go to even begin to slow the rate of air pollution on this fragile little planet.Being a regular critic via the editorial column of this very paper, I'm already composing an email to the editor in my head. Tha facts should speak for themselves. Now I am curious now about how much Co2 is offset by the overall efforts of the Austin Energy programs? Reply please?Jim Duncan
Plant released most mercury
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Staff Writer
North Texas power plant has been identified as the worst mercury-emitting power plant in North America, outpacing the dirtiest plants in three countries, according to a new international study.
TXU Power's Monticello coal-fired plant in Mount Pleasant, about 145 miles northeast of Fort Worth, logged emissions in 2002 at more than twice the levels noted for any plant in Mexico and Canada, according to the 93-page study conducted by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
TXU blasted the study, saying it failed to note that the Monticello plant no longer uses mercury-rich lignite coal and has reduced its mercury emissions.
Clean-air advocates, however, say the findings illustrate the need for stronger air-quality regulations.
The commission was created by Canada, Mexico and the United States to address regional environmental concerns as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The study is the first to analyze emissions from more than 1,000 coal-fired power plants in the three countries.
The switch to cleaner-burning coal at the Monticello plant has lowered mercury emissions, said Rand LaVonn, a company spokesman.
"Everyone is searching for a solution on how to reduce mercury," he said. "TXU is in the forefront."
Paul Miller, co-author of the study, said the findings do not take into account pollution controls installed in recent years.
"But the essential point remains the same: Texas power plants are high mercury emitters," said Miller, the commission's program coordinator for air quality.
Four other power plants within 170 miles of Fort Worth -- including two others operated by TXU -- rank among the 20 worst in mercury emissions, according to the study.
Clean-air advocates say the mercury from these power plants blows into Dallas-Fort Worth, exposing residents to the toxic metal that has been linked to brain damage and developmental disorders.
The commission study comes as the Bush administration works to finalize new regulations that it promises will slash mercury emissions by 70 percent within 15 years.
Environmentalists have slammed the proposal because they say it fails to reduce emissions quickly.
"It does not go far enough. It does not work fast enough," said Karen Hadden, executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition in Austin. "We need the federal government to step in with strong mercury rules."
Tessie Holloway, regional executive director of the American Lung Association of Texas, agrees.
"The public needs to be aware of how we are not making any progress on cleaning up the environment," she said.
The study, based on 2002 data, concludes that "site by site, coal-fired power plants are the dominant source of harmful air emissions from the electricity sector in North America," said William Kennedy, executive director of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
He acknowledged that many power plants have worked to reduce pollution in recent years.
"This report helps set a North American benchmark with which we can show their environmental achievements over time," he said.
This Report Includes Material From the Associated Press.