Stop Premature Deaths Caused by Pollution from Coal Plants

Coal

Target: Major US coal companies

Goal: Stop premature deaths caused by pollution from coal plants.

The social cost of premature deaths caused by pollution outweighs the economic value of the electricity produced at America’s dirtiest coal plants, according to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project. Researchers identified 51 plants that released the most sulfur dioxide in 2010 and 2011 and so far have no plans to install or upgrade air pollution control devices. They then estimated that emissions from the plants studied contributed to between 2,700 and 5,700 deaths in 2011.

More than 130,000 people die each year in the US from heart and lung diseases caused by inhaling particles like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which are emitted from coal-burning power plants. The Clean Air Act required power plants to install pollution control devices, but many still have yet to do so.

Although placing a monetary value on human life is an uncomfortable and difficult way to think about the problem, it allows us to compare lives lost and electricity produced on the same scale. Researchers used the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard statistical value for the social cost of a human life and concluded that the 2,700 to 5,700 deaths would result in a loss of $23 to $47 billion dollars.

“The social costs of these emissions is so high, that on a plant-by-plant basis, they often outweigh the entire retail value of electricity at individual power plants that lack up to date pollution controls,” the study concludes.

If installed, modern pollution control technology can remove 99% of sulfur dioxide particles from a plant’s emissions. It is ridiculous to think that 51 US coal-fired power plants have failed to install the technology that could save thousands of lives each year. Sign the petition below to demand that coal companies exhibit some sense of responsibility by taking the necessary measures to prevent premature deaths caused by coal pollution.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear US coal companies,

According to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project, the social cost of premature deaths caused by pollution outweighs the economic value of the electricity produced at America’s dirtiest coal plants. Researchers estimated that the 51 coal-fired power plants that released the most sulfur dioxide in 2010 and 2011 contributed to between 2,700 and 5,700 premature deaths in 2011 alone.

Using the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard statistical value for the social cost of a human life, researchers determined that the 2,700 to 5,700 deaths would result in a loss of $23 to $47 billion dollars.

“The social costs of these emissions is so high, that on a plant-by-plant basis, they often outweigh the entire retail value of electricity at individual power plants that lack up to date pollution controls,” the study concludes.

Since modern pollution control systems can remove 99% of sulfur dioxide from a plant’s emissions, installing the technology could prevent thousands of premature deaths each year. In considering the economic and social consequences of allowing the present levels of pollution to persist, I hope that you will exhibit a sense of responsibility and take the necessary measures to reduce pollution and save the lives at stake.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

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186 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
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