Wyoming is home to one one of the country's "filthiest" power plants

Dec 7, 2011

Wyoming is home to one of the nation’s dirtiest power plants, according to a new study by the Environmental Integrity Project.

The report examined emissions reports from power plants around the country and found that Basin Electric’s Laramie River station is one of the top 10 emitters of arsenic, chromium, nickel and selenium. Those are all toxic heavy metals.

Ilan Levin, associate director of the Environmental Integrity Project, says exposure to those chemicals can be harmful.

“These chemicals are listed as hazardous air toxics for a reason,” Levin said. “At high levels, they are dangerous to people and the environment. For example, arsenic and chromium are human carcinogens. And mercury exposure is known to harm brain and nervous system development in infants and children.”

Levin says power plants need to be pushed to adopt cleaner technologies.

“The technology and the pollution control equipment necessary to clean up these emissions are widely available and are working at some power plants across the country,” he said. “So there’s no reason for Americans to continue to live with unnecessary risks to their health and to our environment.”

Levin says he’s optimistic that the EPA will soon impose tougher emissions standards on power plants.