Brunner Island hearing draws concerned residents

Written by Brett Sholtis/The York Daily Record | Jul 25, 2017 7:22 AM

(York) --  About a dozen are residents and environmental advocates voiced their concerns about Brunner Steam Electric Station at a public hearing Monday. 

Brunner Island, a coal-and natural gas-burning power plant in York Haven, has been out of compliance with DEP's water quality program for six years. However, the state agency has issued permits that allow the plant more time to reduce its impact on the Susquehanna River.  

The plant releases heavy metals, as well as heated water from its cooling process, into the river, causing problems for wildlife downstream, said Daniel Ryan, a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologist who spoke at the meeting.

Like others at the meeting, Ryan pushed the DEP to enforce the emissions standards, which Brunner Island regularly exceeds. 

The proposed permit would give Brunner Island until 2022 to begin meeting the tighter environmental standards. Many at the meeting want the plant to meet those standards sooner.

Manchester resident Ryan Bridge lives within sight of the power plant and worries about his family's health.  

"In our house, we refer to Brunner Island as the pollution plant," Bridge said..

Bridge doesn't consider himself to be an environmentalist, but after learning about the hearing he decided to attend. An avid fisherman, he said he doesn't eat fish from the Susquehanna, and he worries about the river's future.

Conoy Township Supervisor Stephen Mohr sees something else when he looks at the power plant -- local jobs that give people something they need.

"When I turn my lights on, I expect them to come on," Mohr said. "We don't want to look over there and see a plant that's no longer in operation."

At the hearing, Mohr encouraged DEP and Talen Energy, which owns the plant, to work together to meet regulations while still keeping the plant open.

The DEP will review the public comments as part of its decision-making procedure, said DEP spokesman John Repetz. 

Ryan Bridge lives within sight of Brunner Island, the coal-and gas power plant. Brett Sholtis, York Daily Record



This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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