Greenpeace Airship Highlights Coal Pollution

by Robert Gardner

August 11, 2011

Greenpeace Airship Flies Over Dirty Coal Plant

Today, the A.E. Bates airship flew past the Portland Generating Station in Portland, PA. The airship carried the message: “If you can read this, you’re breathing coal pollution” to show people in both states that the invisible but deadly pollution from the plant is putting their health at risk.

The Portland Generating Station costs the communities of Pennsylvania and New Jersey hundreds of millions of dollars in health costs borne entirely by the public not the plant. Pollution from this plant is responsible for 30 deaths every year, in addition to 54 heart attacks, 500 asthma attacks, and scores of hospital admissions and emergency room visits.

GenOn’s impacts are not isolated to Portland, PA and New Jersey. It’s Bangor quarry coal ash disposal site is collecting the toxic coal ash from years of burning coal in Portland. And this plant generates more sulfur dioxide over New Jersey than every power plant in the state, combined. In fact, New Jersey has been in the process of suing the plant to stop sulfur pollution from blanketing Warren County.

GenOn has been out of compliance with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act since 2007, and has a history of releasing toxic heavy metals and other pollutants into the environment due to improper lining and monitoring.

Dave McNulty, a father from New Jersey, said “I lived with my family in the shadow of the Portland Plant in New Jersey for more than a decade. My son was born with health problems and suffered from asthma from an early age. We moved away from the plant because of these problems and now, after 15 years, my son is off his asthma medicine. I want my kids to grow up breathing clean air and pollution from the plant doesn’t respect any boundaries or state lines. GenOn must shut down this plant now.”

We have heard from folks all over the community that echo Dave’s sentiments, which is why we brought the 135 foot airship to communicate directly with local residents living in the shadow of this coal plant.

To continue operating this plant is an injustice. Like Dave, we are looking forward to a breath of fresh air when this plant is shut down. Here’s to a coal free future for us all.

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