Sandow 5th on environmental group’s mercury-emitters list

Luminant: ‘Units meet or outperform state/federal laws’

Luminant’s Sandow Steam Electric Station (Units 4 and 5) was ranked fifth nationwide for mercury emissions last week in a listing by an environmental activist group.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) listed Sandow behind three other Luminant Texas facilities, and an Alabama plant, in its list of the “Toxic 10” for mercury emissions.

EIP, using 2011 Toxic Inventory Reports compiled by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), listed Sandow with 841 pounds of mercury emissions.

‘EXEMPLARY’—Luminant doesn’t dispute the numbers but maintains Sandow, and its other facilities, are in compliance with all laws and that mercury emissions are trending downward.

“Luminant stands by its strong track record of exemplary compliance in meeting or outperforming all state and federal environmental laws, rules and regulations,” Ashley Barrie, Luminant spokesperson, said.

“Our voluntary installation of activated carbon injection systems on all of our coal-fueled power plant units demonstrates our commitment to protect air quality and the environment well in advance of state or federal mandates,” she said.

At Sandow, both Units 4 and 5 use activated carbon injection, which reduce mercury emissions, according to Barrie.

DECREASE—Both Luminant and EIP note that mercury emissions have been headed down, but draw different conclusions.

“This equipment has resulted in the reduction of f leet-wide mercury emissions by more than 20 percent since 2005, despite the addition of 2,200 megawatts of coal-fueled units,” Barrie said.

EIP’s release maintains: “Even though mercury and other hazardous air pollution from U. S. power plants are declining, the progress at the coal-fired plants are uneven, leaving in place a significant, remaining risk to the health of the public and environment.”

LISTING—EIP notes that five of the 10 top power plant mercury emitting sources are in Texas, and four are owned by Luminant.

Here’s the list, with amount of mercury emitted:

1. Martin Lake, Rusk County, Texas, Luminant, 1,244 pounds.

2. Gaston Plant, Shelby County Alabama, Southern Company, 1,244 pounds.

3. Big Brown, Freestone County, Texas, Luminant, 1,240 pounds.

4. Monticello, Titus County, Texas, Luminant, 911 pounds.

5. Sandow, Milam County, Texas, Luminant, 841 pounds.

6. Coal Creek, McLean County, North Dakota, Great River Energy, 812 pounds.

7. Labadie Energ y Center, Franklin County, Missouri, Ameren Corp., 795 pounds.

8. Gra nd R iver C omplex, Mayes County, Oklahoma, Grand River Dam Authority, 722 pounds.

9. Detroit Edison Monroe Power Plant, Monroe County, Michigan, DYE Energy, 708 pounds.

10. H. W. Pirkey Power Plant, Harrison County, Texas, American Electric Power, 683 pounds.

EIP says t he 10 faci lit ie s account for about 18 percent of the mercury emissions from all coal-burning plants in 2011.

According to EIP, emissions at Big Brown, Labadie and H. W. Pirkey dropped at least 20 percent last year while the other seven “showed little change.”

Luminant’s Barrie said the company “has continued to make investments, including $300 million in emission control equipment across our fleet—$80 million at (No. 1-ranked) Martin Lake—which will further reduce mercury and sulfur dioxide.”

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