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Press Release

New Study Links Power Plant Pollution to More Than 1160 Premature Deaths in Texas Each Year

June 9, 2004

Contact:
Contact: Ricky Bates 254-498-3793
Robert L. Cervenka 284-875-2286
cell 254-716-3966

Interactive Web Site Shows Health Impacts of Texas Power Plants on Texas Residents

Waco, Texas - Pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 1,791 heart attacks, 144 lung cancer deaths, and 1,160 premature deaths each year in Texas, according to a new Clear the Air report released today by TPOWER-Texans Protecting Our Water Environment and Resources, the Two Rivers Regional Sierra Club, SEED Coalition, and Public Citizen. Nationally, power plant pollution cuts short nearly 24,000 lives, including 2,800 from lung cancer, and causes 38,200 heart attacks each year.

Dirty Air, Dirty Power is based on an analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's own air quality consultants using standard EPA methodology.

Clear the Air also launched www.cleartheair.org/dirtypower, a related interactive web site that enables the public to learn about the health problems caused by dirty power plants in their town, city, and state.

The report compares the premature deaths that would result under the administration's air pollution plan, the existing Clean Air Act, and a proposal sponsored by Senator Jim Jeffords to strengthen the Clean Air Act. The administration's proposal would allow 4,000 preventable premature deaths each year compared with simply enforcing current law, while repealing the very safeguards that could save lives.

"Power plant pollution has resulted in too many asthma attacks, too many emergency room visits, too many lost school and work days, and too many lives cut short." said Ricky Bates of TPOWER-Texans Protecting Our Water Environment and Resources. "Polluters are being allowed to rewrite the rules, weaken current law, and pass it off as progress. If ever there was a time to stand up and demand action, it is now, especially with a new coal plant proposed in Riesel".

The report's interactive web site allows Texas residents to graphically see how local power plants contribute to death and disease, including premature deaths from lung cancer and other cardiovascular disease, non-fatal heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits for respiratory problems, and lost work days. Residents can also view how the numbers of premature deaths caused by pollution vary under the administration's plan, current law, and Senator Jeffords' bipartisan proposal to strengthen the Clean Air Act.

"We have to substantially reduce the adverse health impacts caused by these dirty power plants," said Waco psychologist and concerned citizen Bruce Allen. This new web site helps us see how our pollution-related numbers stack up to other states, and shows us how dirty air will really affect public health. "The new Clear the Air web site is an incredible tool for citizens to learn more about power plant pollution in their community. We also encourage people to fax free letters to Congress urging clean up of these power polluters, at www.seedcoalition.org"

"This new data is alarming considering the planned construction of a new power plant in Riesel just 13 miles away from Waco. these emissions will affect the health of many who live under the plum, causing an increased number of early deaths, heart attacks, and asthma attacks," said Ricky Bates, who lives near the proposed plant.

Tom "Smitty" Smith, Director of Public Citizen's Texas Office noted that the Texas Legislature can also take steps to clean the air over our cities. "As a result of legislation passed in 1999, many Texas power plants have reduced emissions by 50%, our studies have shown that the power plants need to reduce their emissions by an additional 27% to assure the air is safe enough to breathe. We call on the Texas legislature to take the next step to clear our air."

The EPA also has a useful web site for finding out the emissions of specific plants by year - at http://www.epa-gov/airmarkets/. A query can get the data for 1999-2002 for all the coal burning power plants in Texas.

Abt Associates, the consultant EPA uses for its air quality analyses, performed the analysis for this report using standard EPA methodology.

Additional contacts:
Bruce Allen 254-752-6581 ext 6721

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