Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Closing power plants will improve environment but hurt local economies in Appalachia, Midwest

The Environmental Protection Agency says "32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to close" and another 36 may close when its new rules for air pollution and mercury take effect in 2014. Communities in the Midwest and in coal states like Virginia and West Virginia will see the greatest effects from the rules, Vicki Smith and Larry O'Dell of The Associated Press report. (AP photo by Paul Foy)

Glen Lyn, Va., population 200, will see a quarter of its revenue disappear when its American Electric Power plant closes, Smith and O'Dell report. "If the town lost all of that revenue," Town Manager Howard Spencer told AP, "we would struggle to even continue to be incorporated." The closure would also mean the loss of the remaining 44 jobs in this plant in a community where a stable well-paying job is hard to find. Anticipating the closure, many workers have already transferred to other plants or are making plans to retire.

AEP's Kammer Plant near Moundsville, W.Va., will also close with the new regulations. It is outside the city limits so will not have a direct impact on the city's revenue, but City Manager Allen Hendershot says it will have a trickle-down effect on other businesses in the community. "It's hard to put an exact number on it," he told AP. "It's the coal-mine jobs, the trucking jobs, the maintenance jobs." (Read more)

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