LEADERSHIP LABORATORY AIRS OO1
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Date Created: 09/26/15
Preliminary Outline i Abstract Why the research is relevant and impormnt I How the process works in theory gt j gt j A The EPA 1 Their role in the process legislative executive judicial power 2 Regulations 3 Permits granted to the plant 4 Interaction with other groups 5 Interaction with the citizens B The State Government West Virginia Dept Environmenml Protection 1 Their role in the process legislative executive judicial power 2 Regulations 3 Permits granted to the plant 4 Interaction with other groups 5 Interaction with the citizens C The Local Government 1 Their role in the process legislative executive judicial power 2 Interaction with other groups 3 Interaction with the citizens E Watchdog Groups 1 What each one does their political smndpoint 2 How they are run nonpro t volunteer etc 2 How they are speci cally involved with Mt Storm How the process works in real life the speci c exaInples A The Mt Storm Power Plant 1 About the surrounding area 2 Its purpose 3 How it is run 4 How the corporation ofVA Power is involved 5 How they interact with the above groups 6 Case history B Citizen input 1 How they feel about the plant 2 How they can get involved with how the plant is run or how they can contact the above organizations HI Interpremtion A Evaluation of the process 1 Conclusions and support 2 Falsi cation test for the above conclusions 3 Public opinion and my response 4 Other scholarly interpretation and my response i Abstract Knowledge about the coal industry is essential for understanding the United States energy industry The US has one of the largest coal supplies on the planet one quarter of the world s coal reserves is found within the United Statesl Mainly coal power is used to supply electricity to American homes Currently coal power supplies more than half of the toml electricity consumed by American households While the supply of coal power in the United States may be abundant there are some downsides to using it to supply energy The main is sues dealt with in the coal power industry are environmental In addition to being a large contributor to many ofwhat the EPA labels the principal air pollutants carbon monoxide nitrogen oxides sulfur oxides and particulate matter coalifired power plants are also a big contributor of mercury emissions Coalifired power plants are the biggest source ofmercury emission into the air as they account for about 40 of the total mercury emissions in the United States2 3 Mercury emissions into the air are typically of small concern but once within the air there is a signi cant potential for mercury to settle and enter water systems When mercury enters the water systems it can bioiconcentrate which means it builds up into larger concentrations as it is absorbed by aquatic organisms mainly fishs Mercury is such a health concern because developing babies are most sensitive to mercury poisoning and can cause an entire range of health defects for babies from physical defects to learning disabilitiess There is also growing evidence that mercury exposure can have adverse cardiovascular effects for adults and can greatly increase the risk ofa heart attacks It is for this reason that the EPA is currently developing a standard to limit emissions from coalifired power plants across the United Smtes The goal of current legislation is to cap total US emissions ofmercury at 26 tons in 2010 and 15 tons in 20183 Nitrogen Oxides are another problem that comes from burning coal for energy Though the primary sources of NOx are motor vehicles about 20 of all NOx emission in the United States comes from industrial processes mainly coal power plants2 The EPA is concerned with NOx emission because it is one of the main ingredients involved in the formation ofgroundilevel ozone which can trigger a wide variety of serious health problems4 In addition to aiding in the formation on ozone NOx also contributes to acid rain formation deteriorates water quality can easily react with compounds found in nature to create other toxic chemicals and is a big contributor to global warming Since the 1970 s the EPA has tracked emissions ofits principal air pollutants and although the other five pollumnts have decreased significantly NOx emissions are still increasing4 Sulfur Oxides also cause a big problem for air and water quality about 20 ofwhich comes from industrial processes5 1 Coal at the DOE 18 August 2004 US Department of Energy lthttpwwwenergygovgt 2 Anthracite Coal Combustion October 1996 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpwwwepagoVttnchiefap42ch01 nalc01s02pdfgt 3 Mercug Frequent S Questions 31 March 2004 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpwwwepagoVmercuryinfoimation1htmgt 4 NOx 7 How Nitrogen Oxides Affect the Way We Live and Breathe 22 September 2003 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpwwwepagovairurbanairnoxindexhtmlgt 5 SOx 7 How Sulfur Oxides Affect the Way We Live and Breathe 30 September 2003 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpwwwepagoVairurbanairs oZwhat1htmlgt Of all the sulfur oxides sulfur dioxide or 802 is by far the most dangerous Sulfur dioxide dissolves easily in water to form sulfuric acid and interacts with other gases and particles in the air to form sulfates and other products that can be very hazardous This compound is contributed to many respiratory illnesses particularly in children and the elderly and can aggravate existing heart and lung conditionss 802 like nitrogen oxides aide in the production of acid rain and can travel very far from their point of origin in the airs Current legislation is focused on slowing down the creation of 802 within power plants and automobiles in hopes that this will cut down on the creation of acid rain and the introduction of sulfur oxides in the atmospheres Carbon monoxide is a colorless odorless and deadly gas produced similarly to sulfur and nitrogen oxides by the incomplete burning of fossil fuelss Although motor vehicles contribute to over half of all the CO emissions for the United States fossil fuel combustion is responsible for about ten percents Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because it is poisonous to anyone who breathes in a high enough concentration of the gas which can cause both acute and chronic symptoms6 Like the other pollumnts mentioned above CO also contributes to the creation of smog The US government is focusing mainly on automotive and power plant emissions of carbon monoxide in order to decrease its concentration within the atmospheres One of the biggest problems with coalifired power plants is the emission ofparticulate matter7 Particulate Matter or PM is the term used for all particles found in the air in the form of dust dirt soot smoke and liquid droplets These particles can be suspended in the air for very long periods of time Some particles are large and can be seen by the naked eye but others are so small they are only visible by using an electron microscope7 All particulate matter regardless of chemical makeup is labeled as either PMlO which means all particles up to up to 10 micrometers in diameter or PM 25 which covers all particles up to 25 micrometers in size7 Particulate matter can cause a wide range of health effects but these health problems are mainly respiratory in nature Particulates are the biggest source of reduced visibility in many parts of the United States especially the national parks These particles can also settle in soil and water and can then in turn manipulate the nutrient and chemical balances in the environment Particulates that get absorbed in the water found in the atmosphere can then lead to the erosion and staining of structures and monuments7 The smaller the particles the more dangerous the health risks particles in the air can cause health problems for people who have only been exposed for a few hours7 In 1997 EPA strengthened its health protection standards for PM by adding an indicator for even smalleri sized or quotfinequot particles and edited current regulation to take these finer particles into account7 Though all of the above mentioned pollutants pose a major threat to the environment and human health there are many more facets of coal energy production that also have to be controlled an maintained That is why local and federal governments have many statutes and regulations that attempt to control these problems Since most ofthe environmental problems that come from coalifired power plants are in the form of air pollutants the CAA or Clean Air Act is a very impormnt piece of federal legislation that the energy industry is made to follow This is the comprehensive federal law 6 CO 7 How Carbon Monoxide Affects the Way We Live and Breathe 22 September 2003 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttp wwwepagov air urbanair co indexhtmlgt 7 PM 7 How Particulate Matter Affects the Way We Live amp Breathe 22 September 2003 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpwwwepagovairurbanairpmindexhtmlgt that regulates air emissions from area stationary and mobile sources8 The original CAA was passed in 1963 and since that time there have been five major amendment cycles Prior amendments to the act have occurred in 1965 1967 1970 and 1977 The latest cycle was completed November 17 1990 when President Bush I signed the latest of the Clean Air Act amendments One of the major functions of this law is that it authorizies the US Environmenml Protection Agency to esmblish National Ambient Air Quality Standards NAAQS to protect public health and the environments Equally important is the CWA or Clean Water Act originally passed in 1972 Some major functions of this law are creating and regulating requirements for water quality standards for all primary and secondary water contaminants giving the EPA the authority to implement pollution control programs and creating funding for the construction of sewage treatment plantsg RCRA or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was enacted by Congress in 1976 RCRA39s primary goals are to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards ofwaste disposal to conserve energy and natural resources to reduce the amount of waste generated and to ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner RCRA regulates the management of solid waste eg garbage hazardous waste and underground storage tanks holding petroleum products or certain chemicalsm Finally in order to make public the possession of certain toxic wastes by factories and other businesses the Emergency Planning and Community RightiToiKnow Act was passed by the president in 1986 Since section 313 of this act is the one relating to public inventory releases this act is commonly referred to as EP313 It was passed in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals To reduce the likelihood of such a disaster in the United States Congress imposed requirements on both smtes and regulated facilities Sometimes having laws and regulations for such health and environmenml hazards are not enough and it is sometimes difficult to keep the public informed ofpotential problems made by the energy industry Various private sector groups make it their business to make public such information Clear The Air is a national public education campaign to improve air quality by reducing emissions from coaliburning power plants It collects information and news articles about government legislation and current clean air standards in an effort to get citizens more informed about the current issues with coal energy The Sierra Club is one of the oldest environmental preservation organizations in the US13 1t receives most ofits money through membership donations the majority ofwhich goes towards the implementation of conservation programs The Environmental Working Group is another public interest watchdog group that has been investigating and publishing public health material since 3 Finding Answers The Clean Air Act 21 May 2004 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpwwwepagovregion5defs htmlcaahtmgt 9 Introduction to the Clean Water Act 13 March 2003 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpWWWepagovWatertraincwagt 10 Freguently Asked Questions About Waste 20 August 2004 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpWWWepagovepaosweroswRCRAgt 11 EPCRA Overview 13 September 2002 US Environmental Protection Agency lthttpyn emite epa pr r r verviewhtmgt Clear The Air 7 About the Campaign September 2004 Clear The Air National Campaign lthttpctapolicy netcampaigngt Sierra Club Homepage September 2004 The Sierra Club lthttpWWWsierraclubcomgt 12 13 199314 In order to publish and investigate public health concerns they have various departments that work together to compile their information including scientists engineers policy experts lawyers and computer programmers There are many more nonprofit and volunteer organizations that try to inform the public about the complexities of environmental issues that pertain to the coal industry Though the US has a great reliance on coal and coal power for electrical energy production its abundance comes with a great amount of responsibility The environmental and public health dangers involved with coal burning and coal production mean that strict guidelines need to be implemented to ensure that such methods remain safe to citizens Both the federal state and local governments need to work together in order to make this possible Outside organizations need to constantly monitor various aspects of energy production to keep both the government and the public informed about such activity All of these groups work together and form an intricate web ofinformation and share a complicated system of responsibility This paper attempts to analyze both how such a system looks on paper and how it relates to a specific example using the coalifired power plant in Mt Storm West Virginia as a model It will finally draw conclusions about this system and offer some solutions about how it is run B The State Go ernment39 West Virginia Dept En irnnmental Protection The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has many different offices that are in charge of the legislative executive and judicial aspects of environmenml protection There are six main branches of the Department that deal with business permining to the Mt Storm power plant The Environmenml Advocate The Environmenml Quality Board The Office ofWater and Waste Management The Office of Environmenml Enforcement The Air Quality Board and The Division ofAir Quality The Environmental Quality Board or EQB has two main functions It sets water quality smndards for West Virginia s surface and ground waters and has the authority to grand variances from these standards for remaining activities In addition the Board hears appeals from the Water and Waste Management Division when they are presented The main goal ofThe Division ofWater and Waste Management is to preserve and enhance West Virginia s watersheds for the benefit and safety of all 17 lt implements programs that control surface and groundwater pollution caused by industrial and municipal discharges as well as oversees construction sites the operation and closure of hazardous or solid waste as well as underground storage tank sites The Division also works to mainmin and improve West Virginia s watersheds through constant environmenml quality assessments groundwater monitoring wetlands preservation inspection and enforcement of hazardous and solid waste disposal The West Virginia Office of Environmenml Enforcement or EE mainly tries to promote compliance with three pieces ofWest Virginia legislation The Solid Waste 14 About the EWG September 2004 The Environmental Working Group lthttp WWW eW g orgabout indexphpgt 15 WVDEPorg September 2004 West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection lthttpWwwdepstatewvusgt 16 The EE 2B September 2004 West Virginia Environmental Quality Board lthttpWWWerqborggt 17 Division of Water and Waste Management September 2004 West Virginia Division of Water and Waste Management lthttpWWWdepstatewvusitemcfmssid11gt Management Act the Water Pollution Control Act and The Groundwater Protection Act It does this by providing assismnce and enforcing conditions required ofvarious state facilities industries and the general public in order to advance the lawful management of solid waste and wastewater There are many routine activities this office undergoes to ensure that it is fulfilling its purpose It performs inspections and sampling to determine the compliance smtus of facilities permitted by the Division ofWater and Waste Management EE also provides compliance assistance to the regulated community through informal consultations with staffmembers training classes and quothowitoquot manuals It also makes referrals to federal smte and private industry resources and by conducting preiclosure inspections ofindustrial facilities In terms ofpublic outreach it assists with school educational programs and provides various speakers and teaching staff for various conservationioriented groups and activities When compliance is not met the office utilizes criminal civil andor administrative enforcement procedures to compel compliance when necessary The EE also is in charge ofinvestigating citizen39s complaints related to point and nonipoint water pollution nonicoal solid waste management open dumps groundwater concerns both industrial and construction stormwater When hazardous waste spills and fish kills occur such incidents are investigated to determine the likely effect and extent of their impact their source and the responsible party These investigations often entail close cooperation with local state and federal agencies The main function of The West Virginia Air Quality Board or AQB is to hear appeals pertaining to the Division ofAir Quality39s enforcement and permitting actions Citizens and the regulated community file appeals with the Board The Board maintains records ofpleadings subpoenas witnesses and holds hearings and rules on matters before it The Board is composed of seven members five of whom are appointed by the Governor and two CX Of CiO members who are Commissioners of the Bureau for Public Health and the Department of Agriculture The West Virginia Division ofAir Quality not to be confused with the Air Quality Board implements air quality standards and is sues permits which strictly control the construction modification or relocation of sources of air pollutionZO In addition it is the job of the Division ofAir Quality to enforce compliance for air quality regulations on all state facilities industries and the general public In order to do this there are many tasks that the division must undergo The Air Monitoring Section of this office initiates field monitoring operations as well as lab processing units With the help of ambient air quality sampling sites throughout West Virginia it monitors air pollutants on both a continuous and a periodic basis The air pollutants and parameters monitored are carbon monoxide hazardous metallic air pollutants hydrogen sulfide inhalable particulate matter only PMlO nitrogen oxides ozone precipimtion pH conductivity total acidity and volatile organic compounds The Monitoring section also collects meteorological data and analyzes particulate fallout The monitoring network is periodically reviewed and revised as necessary to accomodate changing Federal requirements The dam collected is used by the DAQ to implement programs to insure attainment of NAAQS for particulate matter sulfur dioxide ozone carbon monoxide nitrogen oxides and lead 18 Office of Environmental Enforcement September 2004 West Virginia Department of Environmental P f hLLp wwwwvdep on item me id13ampsslidl93gt 19 The Ag 2B September 2004 West Virginia Air Quality Board lthttpWWWanqborggt 20 The Division of Air Quality September 2004 West Virginia Division of Air Quality lthttpWWWWvdeporgitemcfmssid8gt Air quality data collected by the air monitoring section is validated and then submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency s Aerometric Information Retrieval System in North Carolina which is then available for public use The AIRS uses this data to generate summaries and reports Finally the monitoring section has an active outreach program interacting with the public at many levels III Interpremtion Since there are more and more electric power industries that are being created in the US federal state and local governments as well as US citizens have become increasingly concerned about air quality Currently the EPA has instituted a new program called New Source Review or NSR which regulates emissions from industrial facilities The general consensus from the program on how to fix the air emissions problem is to implement more cap and trade prograIns Under a cap and trade system the first step is to set an overall cap or maximum amount of emissions for an entire region under a given compliance period This maximum amount is for all emissions sources to comply with as a whole The cap is chosen based on how much the government is trying to reduce the total amount of emissions for one type ofpollumnt Individual emissions from sources are not speci ed Instead sources report all emissions to the appropriate agency and if they fall below the required amount of emissions they can sell their remaining emissions requirements to other businesses However if these caps are set too low some of these new prograIns may jeopardize the revenue of current coal industries and thus creates much debate between individuals that are concerned with the welfare of the coal industry and others who mostly worry about public health Environmentalists believe that the new rules are too lax for coali fired power plants citing exaInples ofpower plants that have not complied with air quality standards that are twentyifive years old On the other hand the Bush administration believes that the old rules are too costly for the industries and they prevent modernization of facilities in ways that would reduce emissions The Clear Skies bill a piece oflegislature that could change many facets of current federal clean air laws would establish a capiandi trade system for mercury and nitrogen oxides but would loosen the schedule fore sulfur dioxide emissions which already operates under a highly successful capianditrade system Aside from the debate on which is the most effective new legislature to pass a second problem exists with how to deal with coalifired power plants that have some old laws that are grandfathered in like the Mt Storm power plant The Clean Air Act of 1970 set the standard for US Environmental law However when Congress wrote the Clean Air Act it exempted old plants believing that the most economical time to add pollution controls was when plants were expanding production or modifying processes Soon the 21 John Dewitt and Lee Paddock Clean Air and the Politics of Coal Issues in Science and Technology Online 202 2004 23 July 2004 lthttpWWWissuesorgissues202 ohnhtmlgt 22 Cap And Trade Essentials September 2004 Environmental Protection Agency hLLp www epa 39 39 gt EPA and other organizations realized that these grandfathered industrial facilities that did not have to comply with the new laws contributed a vast amount of the emissions problems of today21 Since the current amendments to the Clean Air Act still have similar stipulations for these exceptional cases debate begins to grow on how to change the laws on the books in order to account for these high environmenml hazards It is the philosophy of the Bush Administration to allow the old coal power plants to keep polluting for the time being while the industry develops a technological fix to reduce the emissions and then implement these technologies as they become more smble A third aspect of the coal industry to consider when looking at the current emissions problem is the issue of regional conflicts Most of the coal found in the US is from the Midwest or northern Appalachian Mountains the northern Great Plains and Texas21 However while cheap coalifired electricity is central to the economy of these regions their emissions can easily be carried into other regions such as New York and NewJersey This creates conflict between regions about the costs and benefits of cheap coalifired electricity sources and how to regulate their pollutants While the cap and trade system is the current way of dealing with these regional problems it also creates its own set ofproblems for the reasons listed above According to DewittJohn there are a few steps that can be taken that can work toward fixing the emissions problem while not creating the disturbances listed above He first suggests to focus on the problem of the old power plants as these are the primary emitters of air pollutants from the industry He then explains that it is essential to have strict law enforcement and increase the fines implemented by the EPA when compliance is not reached Next he suggests building a greater capacity in the laws to adjust for changing conditions that will occur in the future and set longiterm goals for climate change policy Finally he suggests that these new laws must be structured to include opportunities for compensating regions and industries that lose out when the policies shiftZl Sometimes citizens and other parties are not happy with the enforcement strategies of the federal government set in place to control emissions New methods may be created from this public outcry to make companies responsible for their emissions and these methods may be entirely independent of the original system set in place to do this For the first time state attorneys are taking on global warming and polluters in states that are not necessarily their own23 This has occurred in California Connecticut and New York where officials in these states have filed suits against the five companies which are the biggest polluters of carbon dioxide none ofwhich are in these states The result of this settlement was that the industries agreed to a 200 billion compensation fine to be paid over the next 25 years to the states Under current legislation this type of regulation and enforcement should fall within the jurisdiction of the EPA but the Attorney Generals argue that it is not doing its job along with Congress and the Bush Administration in dealing with these environmenml hazards Supporters of this movement show how this is another creative effort by the states to fix environmenml problems they feel that are not being recognized by the federal government Critics however believe that such efforts distort the balance between federal and state powers However since the balance between federal and state regulation allow for such outside action to be taken in case citizens feel one side is not 23 Scherer Ron and Alexandra Marks New Environmental Cops State Attorney General The Christian Science Monitor 27 July 2004 lthttpsearchcsmonitorcom20040722p03s01usju htmgt
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