Sierra Club study slams SO2 emissions from NRG’s Parish coal plant in Texas

The Sierra Club on Sept. 10 published a report detailing how NRG Energy’s (NYSE: NRG) W.A. Parish coal-fired power plant is allegedly releasing SO2 at levels that violate federal health protections and threaten the health of people living, working and attending school in the surrounding area.

In addition to this report, the Sierra Club released a map showing where the club says that SO2 pollution from the plant exceeds the federally set safe levels.

“SO2 can make breathing much more difficult for people who have asthma. This is particularly true in children with asthma since their air passages are smaller and respiratory rates are faster,” said Dr. Brett Perkison, Medical Director for Environmental Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. “And recent analysis shows that levels of SO2 in the community around the Parish plant are significantly above what the EPA has determined is safe. That’s especially concerning for asthma sufferers.”

The Sierra Club said it is sending the report to NRG and both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, noting that a solution that addresses these dangerous pollution levels should already exist under current regulations.

“This report clearly shows that NRG’s coal plant is violating an important air quality standard that exists to protect our health. NRG talks a lot about clean energy, but there’s nothing clean about this coal plant dumping so much SO2 that it puts neighborhoods and community schools at risk,” said Chrissy Mann, Senior Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club.

The air quality modeling in the report and plume maps were created using the same modeling techniques used by industry and state environmental agencies and relied upon publicly shared data from NRG, said the club.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.