Report: Brunner Island "significantly" impacted air quality in 2011

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Aug 24, 2015 3:58 AM

(York Haven) -- The Sierra Club, an environmental group, says the Brunner Island Power Plant needs to improve its pollution controls.

A report shows Brunner Island in York County significantly impacted air quality on 50 days in 2011.

In Lancaster, it was 36 days, and in Harrisburg - Carlisle, 31.

The Sierra Club says if the plant installed controls for nitrogen oxide, it could cut ozone pollution by as much as 75 percent.

All six other large, coal-fired plants in the state are getting the equipment.

The group's Tom Schuster explains how nitrogen oxide affects public health.

"If you have asthma, you're more likely to get an asthma attack if you're exposed to smog. And if you have another respiratory disease like COPD, it can exacerbate that," says Schuster. 

Schuster says proposed state regulations wouldn't require Brunner Island to install pollution controls, even though every other similar power plant in Pennsylvania has them.

"And that would go a long way toward eliminating the kinds of impacts that we're able to demonstrate in this report and it should cut back on the number of days that people throughout the region have to be careful about what they do."

Talen Energy owns Brunner and says it's adding a natural gas option, which is considered cleaner than coal.

Talen says it follows all state and federal regulations.

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