Iowa named top-20 toxic state

Photo by hartanto, Flickr

Iowa was named among the top “toxic 20” states in the U.S. by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility. They judged the states’ toxicity by their coal and oil power plant pollution. The nation’s leaders included Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Kentucky. While Iowa was the 20th and final state to make the list, the Quad-City Times reports that the emissions from coal and oil power plants only begin to indicate Iowa’s total air pollution:

Half of the industrial pollutants in the U.S. come from coal- and oil-fired power plants. Nationwide, 381.7 million tons of toxic air pollution comes from the electric sector, the report said.

In Iowa, the picture is different. Continue reading

Industrial Muscatine continues to struggle with air pollution, health affects

This story, originally published by Midwest Energy News, was republished under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. Midwest Energy News is a daily collection of the top energy stories of importance to the region. Its objective is to keep stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens informed of the important changes taking place as the Midwest shifts from fossil fuels to a clean energy system.

By B. Adam Burke

An Iowa town with the worst air quality in the state is again under EPA scrutiny after years of maintaining allowable air pollution levels.

But plans to clean up emissions from burning coal won’t be adopted for several years, leaving residents in a haze of regulation and red tape.

Last month, the EPA declared Iowa’s pollution-fighting plans “substantially inadequate” for maintaining fine particulate matter standards in Muscatine, an industrial town on the Mississippi River. Continue reading

Everything you Need to Know about Coal in Iowa

Source: Physicians for Social Responsibility

Want to learn more about coal us in Iowa and how it affects our health and environment?

Check out this site dedicated to the subject. It was created by Plains Justice – a group which provides legal resources about energy issues – and Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility. Continue reading

On the Radio: Iowa’s Coal problem

Graphic source: Physicians for Social Responsibility

Listen to this week’s audio segment on Iowa’s heavy reliance on coal power.

There are 72 coal-fired power units in Iowa, and they may be damaging our health.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Ninety-two percent of Iowans live within 30 miles of a coal plant and a third of children attend schools nearby one.  And those plants rank among the oldest and most inefficient in the country, according to a new study released by the Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Continue reading

Physicians’ Coal Study raises health concerns

Photo by Mike Willis.

Most of us know that burning coal is bad for the environment. But a study released by the Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility details the additional troubling ways it affects the health of Iowans.

Here are two key excerpts:

Ninety-two percent of Iowans live within 30 miles of a coal plant, and almost one out of three Iowa children attend school in close proximity to a coal plant. Additionally, Iowa is home to several of the oldest, least efficient and most polluting coal burning power plants in the nation, those grandfathered and exempted from stricter emissions limits after passage of the Clean Air Act in 1977.

This means that not only does Iowa have more power plants per capita than almost all states, but many of Iowa’s power plants emit relatively more pollution per unit of energy produced because of their age. Finally, Iowa also disposes a disproportionate amount of coal combustion waste.

Numerous toxic substances naturally found in coal are concentrated in such waste. Iowa has lax regulations on coal combustion waste disposal and allows waste from other states to be brought into Iowa for disposal. Thus Iowa absorbs the waste from its own plants as well as that produced elsewhere despite the potential health and environmental impacts of the many toxic substances involved…. Continue reading