The Sierra Clubs Urges the Northland to Request Stricter Water Pollution Laws for Coal-Fired Power Plants

By KBJR News 1

July 30, 2013 Updated Jul 30, 2013 at 7:21 PM CDT


The Sierra Club has made a call to action for all Northlanders.

The group is calling for citizens to push for stricter federal water pollution standards for coal–fired power plants.

Members of the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League and the League of Women Voters gathered along the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth to spread the word.

They are encouraging Northlanders to take an active stance and contact the Environmental Protection Agency in support of several proposed laws that could significantly decrease pollution.

"The strongest proposal that the EPA has on the table would reduce five billion pounds of toxic water pollution every year," says Jessica Tritsh of the Sierra Club.

New Federal regulations, including the recently passed Clean Water Accountability Act, call for coal–fired power plants to set specific timelines for reducing their coal emissions.

"None of Minnesota's active coal plants have requirements to monitor or report discharges of toxic metals to federal authorities," Tritsch says.

Minnesota Power spokespeople say the company's "Energy Forward" plan will significantly reduce emissions by 2016.

"Not only will that reduce mercury emissions by 90% in the air, but we also know that the technology will help us see further improvements in the water quality as well," informs Minnesota Power spokesperson Amy Rutledge.

Rutledge says the company has been active in continually working toward cleaner energy.

"We want to be able to keep providing the reliable and affordable energy that they expect from us while at the same time making sure we're protecting the health of this community and also the environment," Rutledge adds.

However, Rutledge says a complete switch from coal would make energy unreliable and unaffordable.

The EPA has set up a public comment period for stricter water laws.
They'll be accepting comments through September 20th.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware