The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been one of the largest coal burners in the nation for decades, but that’s about to change due to new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for the emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and other power-plant pollutants that take effect in 2016.
Before the new EPA standards, there were no national limits regarding the amount of mercury, nickel, arsenic, chromium, and acid gases resulting from coal burners.
The EPA is also proposing a regulation capping carbon pollution from existing power plants. In the mid-2000s, the TVA’s units jointly produced 22 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. According to the EPA, that’s equivalent to the carbon dioxide output of 4.6 million vehicles per year!
The TVA is closing eight electricity-generating units as it shifts from using coal as an energy source in favor of renewable energy sources like solar and hydropower, and natural gas. The authority will generate only 20 percent of its electricity from coal.
Tons of mercury and greenhouse gases released from coal burning pose serious health threats to Tennessee residents. The pollutants don’t just affect the air we breathe. The disposal methods for the waste left at the bottom of the coal plant stacks can contaminate our ground and surface waters.
According to Physicians for Social Responsibility, coal combustion releases nitrogen oxides, mercury, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and dozens of other pollutants that affect three major body organ systems:
- The respiratory system
- The cardiovascular system
- The nervous system
Inhaling small particles or drinking contaminated water might cause serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Adverse pregnancy outcomes
- Poor child development, such as learning disabilities
- IQ loss
- Various forms of cancer
At Gilreath & Associates, we fight for families in Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis and communities across Tennessee whose health is affected by pollution, negligence, or toxic injury (https://www.sidgilreath.com/Tennessee-personal-injury-lawyers.html).
If you have been injured by environmental contamination, we want to review your case. You have a right to receive compensation. Submit your case details to us today.