Posey Pollution Pits People Against Power Plant

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A coal-fired power plant near the Posey-Vanderburgh county line produces hundreds of megawatts of electricity for the Tri-State.

But with that power comes pollution.

The A.B. Brown power plant, not far from Mt. Vernon, is in the cross fire from federal and state environmental agencies, who are trying to get and keep the plant in compliance with tighter regulations on pollution.

Some neighbors are worried what they’ve already been exposed to, and others say the changes aren’t enough.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has a public hearing in Mt. Vernon, with dozens to speak against the Vectren-owned power station.

IDEM says the A.B. Brown power plant is now in compliance, but it wasn’t always.

New federal standards from the EPA set in 2010 tightened up emission standards, moving from a 24-hour and annual measure to a one-hour measure for sulfur dioxide.

In 2013, officials identified 29 areas in 16 states that exceeded the new standards, including the A.B. Brown plant.

Vectren officials say scrubbers at the plant capture the majority of sulfur dioxide emissions.

Tests in 2015 by IDEM showed the plant was meeting the new EPA standards.

But neighbors say it’s not enough, and want to see more long-term solutions.

“Moving away from highly polluting, coal-burning energy towards an alternative would be a step towards a better future for the Tri-State,” says Bartell Berg.

The Sierra Club, an environmental watchdog, says sulfur dioxide can affect asthma or aggravate heart disease.

Vectren says in a statement the power plant is in full compliance with the current air permit, officials add the utility is willing to change emission standards to meet new EPA regulations.

The hearing is a legal requirement to complete the process of collecting information to send to the EPA on the new standards.

Ultimately that body will make a final ruling on the plant and whether it’s in compliance.

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