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Several Sustainable Shawnee members have participated in the Oklahoma Water Planning process. This fall the public input report will be submitted to the OK Legislature. At this time, Oklahomans have the opportunity to submit comments specifically to the Legislature on how you’d like them to use the report. Don’t waste a moment a going to OKwaterplan.info to leave your hopes for how water use and quality in our state. Politics being what it is; legislators need to hear your views because big business will certainly express theirs. Click on “Make Comments” in the left-hand corner of the page.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Published: December 15, 2011
The U.S EPA is standing firm with its plan to force Oklahoma's two largest electric utilities to reduce emissions from their aging coal plants. The federal plan finalized Wednesday by the EPA has been criticized for failing to consider the financial impact on Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma customers if those companies are forced to install expensive scrubber technology. Utility officials have estimated the EPA-mandated improvements to reduce emissions could raise electric rates as much as 20 percent over three years.
“We're disappointed by what we've seen thus far from the EPA,” Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. spokesman Brian Alford said. “We continue to stand by the Oklahoma plan that uses less coal and more natural gas, and believe it would do a much better job of improving visibility at national parks for far less cost than what the federal government is mandating.” The EPA's ruling is meant to improve visibility at national parks and wilderness areas, while protecting the public from pollutants coming from three state power plants, the agency said on Wednesday. “Controlling emissions that improve visibility also prevents health risks including increased asthma symptoms and premature death,” according to the prepared statement issued by the EPA.
The EPA plan would require OG&E and PSO to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from three coals plants. Each plant, built more than 30 years ago, has two electricity-generating units. “This can be accomplished by retrofitting the six units with dry flue gas desulfurization technology, commonly known as ‘SO2 scrubbers,'” according to the plan issued Wednesday. “EPA believes that these limits can also be met by wet scrubbing technology or switching to natural gas.” EPA estimates scrubbers would cost about $600 million for OG&E and $274 million for PSO, although the companies' estimates have been significantly higher.
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WASHINGTON – The U.S. EPA has issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. The standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. The standards will also help America’s children grow up healthier – preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.
Power plants are the largest remaining source of several toxic air pollutants, including mercury, arsenic, cyanide, and a range of other dangerous pollutants, and are responsible for half of the mercury and over 75 percent of the acid gas emissions in the United States. Once final, these standards will level the playing field by ensuring the remaining plants – about 40 percent of all coal fired power plants - take similar steps to decrease dangerous pollutants.
The standards also ensure that public health and economic benefits far outweigh costs of implementation. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public will see up to $9 in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually.
For more information on the new standards, visit www.epa.gov/mats