Report Says Three East Texas Plants Dirtiest In Nation - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/27/07-East Texas

Report Says Three East Texas Plants Dirtiest In Nation

They're considered some of the biggest power plants in the state, and they're right here in East Texas. Now a report by one Texas environmental advocacy group says they're also the dirtiest in the nation. They are TXU's Monticello Plant in Titus County, TXU's Martin Lake Power Plant in Rusk County and SWEPCO's H.W. Pirkey Plant near Hallsville.

The sun beats down as kids swim in Martin Lake Friday, but just yards away, a different sort of heat radiates.  It's from TXU's Martin Lake Power Plant.

"I can't believe it's true, this has been a wonderful resort for the people in the area, I can't think of anyone that has every been damaged by any kind of emissions from this plant," said Carl Amick, a recreational fisherman.

In fact, it's just one of three East Texas plants that rank among the top 50 dirtiest, in five out of eight total categories. The report created by the Environmental Integrity Project looks at emission levels of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury--all emissions that can be harmful for the environment, animals, and humans. 

"We have small children, you know, what are they going to grow up to, what kind of air are they going to be breathing by the time they get old.  Our little girl has asthma, so all these pollutants will trigger her asthma," said Joey Delaney, a visitor to the lake.

"Personally, I don't know that it really bothers me that much. I wouldn't eat it [the fish], but as far as breathing [it's] not a big deal," said Kim Cotton, a Tatum resident.

Both TXU and AEP/SWEPCO officials say they are doing something about it.

"Mercury is an issue, we realize it, we're one of the first companies in the nation to invest billions of dollars to look at mercury emissions and control it," said AEP/SWEPCO spokesperson Scott McCloud.

"TXU's commitment is to rescue key emissions even while adding new capacity which will further improve our emission rates," said TXU spokesperson Tom Kleckner.

Both companies say it will be some years before alternative forms of energy can be used to power all the Lone Star state.  They say despite the rankings, they do follow all EPA and state emission regulations.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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