UPDATE: Check out video & press coverage at the bottom of this post!
Emissions from coal-fired Brayton Point Power Station in 2012 caused between 15 to 39 premature deaths and a host of additional health impacts from heart attacks to emergency room visits according to a new analysis released by Coal Free Massachusetts. Although the aging plant, located in Somerset, MA, has been operating less than in years past and has undergone a significant retrofit, health damage associated with Brayton Point’s emissions continues to cast a heavy shadow on local communities as well as the region as a whole.
“Brayton Point’s continued operation presents a grave threat to our communities. From days lost at work to asthma attacks to hospitalization and death, the burning of coal at Brayton exacts a multi-million dollar toll every year,” notes Becky Smith, MA Campaigns Director at Clean Water Action and co-author of the report. “If we act now, we can transition our communities from Brayton’s calculable and deadly toll. Failure to do so is unacceptable: the cost of coal burning is simply too great.”
The report, “Brayton Point Coal Plant: Operating at Our Expense,” features analysis from MSB Energy Associates and the Clean Air Task Force that examines the plant’s 2012 emissions of fine particles, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Using a sophisticated model that incorporates pollution dispersion and health impact data, researchers estimate health costs that burden the economy with between $120 to $294 million in health care dollars for one year’s operation. Averaging emissions from 2010 – 2012, researchers estimate that on-going plant operation for the next decade would translate to $2.6 – 6.3 billion dollars in health expenses related to the plant’s emissions.
Read the report here.
On August 7, 2013, Coal Free Massachusetts, Partners for a Healthier Community and South Coast residents joined together to release the report Brayton Point: Operating at Our Expense in Fall River's Kennedy Park. Looking at 2012 emissions from the coal-fired power plant and projecting ten years into the future, the report shows the toll on health and economy that residents of Massachusetts and Rhode Island continue to bear. Included in the research are recommendations for alternative, healthier solutions to power, such as cost-saving energy efficiency, and policy suggestions for economic shift and redevelopment, which include transitional funding for plant workers and a multi-stakeholder study of redevelopment options. Fall River parent Mike Sylvia, Dr. David Weed of Partners for a Healthier Community, and representatives from Clean Water Action, Coalition for Social Justice, and American Lung Association spoke at the press conference.
Check out press coverage of the event: Herald News, Providence Journal, EcoMass News, WBSM and on WPRO.