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Cash Creek gets thumbs down from environmental groups
Owensboro, KY: Today members of the Kentucky Sierra Club, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Valley Watch, student groups and other concerned citizens will urge the Kentucky Division of Air to deny the draft air permit for a newly proposed coal gasification project known as “Cash Creek”. The permit’s safeguards are not strong enough to protect water or air quality to ensure public safety.

The Cash Creek plant would dump 600 tons of carbon monoxide, more than 160 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), and more than 200 tons of particulate matter into surrounding communities every year. “These types of emissions harm public health. Nitrogen oxides are a precursor for unhealthy smog, which increases asthma risks and fine particulates increase lung disease”, stated Wallace McMullen, Energy Chair of the Sierra Club’s Cumberland Chapter.

According to the report “Death, Disease, and Dirty Power” issued in 2000 by Abt Associates, Owensboro ranked 11th in the nation in deaths per 1000 adults attributable to fine particulate power plant emissions (soot).

“This project will be a step backward for our economy; and will have a significant public health cost”, continued McMullen.  “We need to be working on making the transition to clean energy so we can move forward to a cleaner, and healthier future for our children and our country.”

Under the Clean Air Act, communities that do not meet national air quality standards have strict economic development controls imposed on them. "Henderson and Daviess counties exceeded the air quality standards for ozone for years 2006-2008 and could be designated as noncompliant", stated Ben Taylor, Chair of the Sierra Club's Owensboro Group. "If Cash Creek is built, it will be even harder for these communities to meet these standards, which will make it hard for them to attract new industries and better jobs".

“Just across the Ohio River, in Indiana, these emissions will also add to the existing violations for both ozone and fine particle matter, which has plagued the region for years”, stated John Blair, of the environmental health advocacy group, Valley Watch.

Blair goes on, “There is also the issue of environmental justice since the region surrounding the proposed plant is already the center of the largest concentration of dirty coal plant capacity in the world. We should be shutting down coal plants instead of building new sources of life-threatening pollution.”

On August 24th over 60 concerned citizens attended the public hearing on Cash Creek’s water permit, which would allow the plant to release chemicals and metals into the company’s wastewater streams, eventually draining into the Green River, impacting local water supplies.

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