June 9, 2010
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Sierra Club Statement on Proposed AEP Phase-Out of Coal Plants
Statement by Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign
Washington, DC – Responding to a court order, one of the country's largest utilities – American Electric Power (AEP) – has proposed a plan to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed new safeguards governing dangerous air toxics emitted from coal-fired power plants. The AEP plan includes phasing out multiple plants in Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia and installing scrubbers and other methods of reducing air toxics in remaining plants.
Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following statement:
"Earlier today AEP announced that it may phase out several outdated and dangerous coal plants. If AEP follows through with this plan, then it will join a growing list of utilities including TVA, Dominion, and TransAlta that have come to the same conclusion: coal has become an increasingly poor investment. The coal plants targeted for phase-out lack modern pollution controls and contribute to thousands of premature deaths, asthma attacks and heart attacks every year. It is time to replace these dirty and dangerous energy sources with clean, safe and reliable forms of production that will create thousands of jobs and revitalize local communities.
"Pollution from coal-fired power plants is known to contribute to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States and adds nearly $62 billion per year in health costs. The EPA air toxics proposal, which the Sierra Club strongly supports, is estimated to save 17,000 lives every year and create 31,000 construction and 9,000 utility worker jobs."