Report: Florida Third-Dirtiest State for Power Plants

Big Bend
Big Bend power plant
USF pediatric doctor
Dr. Lynn Ringenberg
TAMPA (2011-7-20) -

Florida is one of the top three dirtiest states when it comes to pollution from power plants. That's the word from a national environmental group, and it comes just as the federal government is considering stricter emission standards.

Florida ranks behind only Ohio and Pennsylvania in the amount of pollution that come out of smokestacks from the state's electric power plants. The report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council uses the latest available figures from a database on toxins released from industries around the country.

It comes just as some members of Congress are fighting a proposal by the federal EPA to toughen rules for release of pollutants. Lynn Ringenberg is a pediatric doctor at the University of South Florida, and a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

"Toxins from coal-fired power plants cause cancer," says Ringenberg, "they cause birth defects, they cause cardiac problems, respiratory illnesses, and just one of those toxins - mercury - damages the developing brains of infants, fetuses and small children.

The EPA is wrapping up public comment on the proposed tightening of the rules. Many utility companies oppose the move, saying the cost of cleaning up what comes out of their smokestacks would have to be passed on to consumers.

According to the report, three of the top polluting smokestacks come from electric power plants in the Tampa Bay area: Progress Energy's Crystal River generator; TECO's Big Bend power plant; and the McIntosh generator, owned by the City of Lakeland.

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