Medical group opposes coal plant - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Medical group opposes coal plant

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Waterloo (KWWL ) - Local doctors and nurses are urging the DNR to turn down a proposed coal plant.

The Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Iowa Nurses Association say the proposed LS Power Plant in Waterloo will expose the public to hazardous air pollutants.

The groups are asking the DNR to apply stronger air standards before issuing draft permits for plants. The DNR is expected to issue a draft air permit for the LS Power Coal Plant sometime in 2009.

 

Online Producer: Maria Magner

 

News Release

Doctors and Nurses Urge DNR to Protect Iowans from Coal Plant Air Pollution

Today two non-profit groups representing Iowa doctors and nurses urged the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to take stronger steps to protect public health from fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a hazardous air pollutant found in soot from coal-fired power plants.

A letter was sent to the DNR on behalf of the Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Iowa Nurses' Association, explaining that the agency's current requirements for coal power-plant applicants not only are insufficient to protect the public from fine particulate air pollution, but also do not comply with the Clean Air Act. The letter asks the DNR to apply these legally required stronger standards before issuing draft air permits for the proposed Interstate Power & Light (IP&L) coal power plant in Marshalltown and proposed LS Power coal power plant in Waterloo.

"The science continues to unfold about the harmfulness of fine particle pollution," said Dr. Maureen McCue of the Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "We already know that PM2.5 air pollution poses great risks to our most vulnerable citizens-children, the elderly, and people with heart or lung disease. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fine particle pollution causes thousands of premature deaths a year and coughing, wheezing, and decreased lung function even in otherwise healthy children and adults," she added.

"Before two new coal-fired power plants are allowed to add more fine particle pollution to the air Iowans breathe, it's critical that the Iowa DNR do more to control PM2.5 than it's doing now," said Pat Hemphill Fuller, speaking on behalf of the Iowa Nurses' Association.

The DNR is expected to issue the draft air permit for the IP&L coal plant next month. The draft air permit for the LS Power coal plant is expected some time in 2009.

More information about the hazards of fine particulate matter air pollution is available at websites of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Lung Society: <http://www.epa.gov/oar/particlepollution/fastfacts.html>

<http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=50324>

The letter is available on the Plains Justice website: <http://plainsjustice.org/>. In addition to the doctors' and nurses' groups, the letter was also sent on behalf of Plains Justice and the grass-roots group Community Energy Solutions.

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The Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is the statewide chapter of the National PSR, a non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to preserving people's health and well being through research, education and advocacy.

The Iowa Nurses Association promotes professional nursing, provides a unified voice in Iowa, and advocates for the health and well-being of all people.

Plains Justice is a public-interest law center that works to protect Northern Plains communities and ensure that every voice is heard when decisions are made that affect our air, our water, our land, and our lives.

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