AES Puerto Rico LLC in Guayama has been included among the dirtiest power plants in the nation that “continue to generate a disproportionate amount of toxic pollutants – including arsenic, chromium, hydrochloric acid, lead, mercury, nickel, and selenium,” a new analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project released today showed.
The plant, which burns carbon to produce low-cost energy, ranked sixth among the dozen plants named in the report released jointly by EIP, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club.
Plum Point Station in Arizona; TVA’s Paradise Plant in Kentucky; Genon’s Shawville Station in Pennsylvania; Basin Electric’s Laramie River Station in Wyoming; and Consumers Energy’s JH Campbell Plant in Michigan topped the list before AES Puerto Rico, which reportedly released 5,745 pounds of pollution into the air in 2010.
“The only thing more shocking than the large amounts of toxic chemicals released into the air each year by coal- and oil-fired power plants, is the fact that these emissions have been allowed for so many years,” said Ilan Levin, associate director of the EPI, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former Environmental Protection Agency enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws.
Another six plants in Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Dakota and Texas were also listed behind Puerto Rico.
The EIP report also notes that a handful of states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas — are among the worst in terms of emissions of certain toxic pollutants. Puerto Rico was again included along with Arkansas, Iowa, and Tennessee.
“For decades, the electric power industry has delayed cleanup and lobbied against public health rules designed to reduce pollution,” Levin said. “But, the technology and pollution control equipment necessary to clean up toxic emissions are widely available and are working at some power plants across the country. There is no reason for Americans to continue to live with unnecessary risks to their health and to the environment.”
On its website, touts itself as one of the “cleanest plants in the world” due to the significant investments it has made to provide reliable energy while preserving natural resources. AES Puerto Rico began operating in 1993, and in 2002 opened its plant at the southern coastal town from which it generates and distributes power through a 25-year agreement with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.