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Every year the G.G. Allen Steam Plant is responsible for:
Duke Energy’s G.G. Allen Steam Plant has been polluting the communities around Belmont, North Carolina since starting service in 1957. This coal-fired plant was ranked 65th highest polluter of coal waste according to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory of 2006. The G.G. Allen plant’s pollution can be attributed to 59 deaths each year and 988 asthma attacks.
All of this is only on the burning side -- the entire life cycle of coal from mining to washing to burning to impoundment is deadly. Marshall sources its coal from Central Appalachian coal mines and is connected to Mountaintop Removal Mining (MTR). In MTR mining, coal companies blow the tops off of mountains in order to get at the coal within them, then leave toxic debris behind in communities, poisoning their water supplies and destroying entire ecosystems in the process. By 2012, 2,200 square miles (5,700 km2) of Appalachian forests will be cleared for MTR sites, 2,000 miles (5,200 km2) of streams and headwaters that provide drinking water for millions of Americans have been permanently buried and destroyed, and more than 500 mountains have been flattened. As a result of the massive disruption caused by mining practices, people living near mountaintop removal and other types of coal mines suffer higher cancer rates, more birth defects, and have shorter life spans than other people in Appalachia.
These numbers are even more appalling given the millions that Duke has billed ratepayers to install pollution controls on site. By spending millions to keep this plant on life support, Duke ensures that their investments will not go towards tapping the real renewable energy that exists throughout North Carolina.
Now is the time to shutdown this plant and its archaic process for generating electricity. Duke Energy needs to retire this plant and clean the active ash ponds storing this plant’s toxic waste.