OLYMPIA, Wash. - Health groups and environmental advocates are giving a
big thumbs down to proposed pollution standards being offered by the
Gregoire administration for Washington State's only coal-fired power
plant. The Washington Department of Ecology says the proposed agreement
will reduce nitrogen oxides pollution by 20 percent. Department
spokespeople also claim that reductions will be made in mercury
pollution. Both claims are being disputed, says Ethan Bergerson,
associate regional representative for the Sierra Club.
"The agreement mentions some of the pollutants from the coal plant, but
it doesn't come up with a solid plan to reduce them - and it doesn't
mention the coal plant's biggest pollution, which is global warming."
The Department of Ecology says the agreement will lead to real
improvements in visibility, but Bergerson disagrees. He says nitrogen
oxides are the source for the haze that is damaging 12 wilderness areas
in Washington State - more wilderness areas affected by coal pollution
than in any other state.
Cherie Eicholz, executive director of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility,
is concerned about how the proposed standards will affect children. She
says the mercury standards fall very short of what is needed.
"Kids' systems are much, much more vulnerable than adult systems are.
When we are talking about mercury, we are talking about nervous systems
and immune systems - we're talking about problems that could last a
The Department of Ecology has scheduled one public hearing, to be held
Oct. 13 at Department of Ecology headquarters. Advocates say more
hearings should be held, so people all across the state can have their
The public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Department
of Ecology headquarters, 300 Desmond Drive SE, Lacey, Wash. The state
also is accepting written comments until early November.