Feds Asked to Rule on Centralia Mine Emissions
Centralia, WA - Four major conservation groups say the
brown haze from the coal-fired Centralia Power Plant is ruining not
only the air quality, but the majestic views in places like Olympic and
Mount Rainier National Parks. They're asking the Interior Department to
officially confirm that pollution and poor visibility have become
serious problems in the parks and statewide.
The state has not required the plant to install stronger pollution controls, and Doug Howell, a senior representative for the Sierra Club
, says haze is only part of the problem.
"We also have massive unregulated carbon dioxide emissions, the single
largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the state; one of the largest
emitters of mercury in the state; the largest problem of haze in our
national parks. There are many problems."
The plant's air quality permits are up for renewal and its owners are
in negotiations with the State of Washington, but Howell says, so far,
the state hasn't been tough enough.
"That really is the clear consensus among the conservation groups, and
that's what's going to be a real focus of the upcoming debate under
their renewal of their permits."
The plant is one of more than 50 owned by a Canadian company,
TransAlta, which says it is meeting the State of Washington's emissions
regulations. The conservation groups contend the regulations aren't
strict enough, and the haze has been a problem since the mid-1990s,
affecting airsheds as far away as the Columbia Gorge. Parties to the
petition are the National Parks Conservation Assn.
, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center
, the Sierra Club
and the Washington Wildlife Federation
. The request for an Interior Department ruling was filed on Wednesday.