Thu June 21, 2012
Milwaukee power plant pressured over pollution
Environmental groups are keeping the pressure on a Wisconsin power plant they say is a health threat to many low income and minority residents.
There have been several air pollution advisories already this year in Milwaukee. The Cleaner Valley Coalition blames some of the pollution on the WE Energies coal fired Valley plant, located in between Milwaukee’s downtown and near south side.
Francisco Enriquez is a local pediatrician who supports the coalition. He says the plant is a big source of pollutants connected to local health problems, including asthma: “Without clean air, our children’s asthma is not going to get better, despite all medication, despite the best specialists in the state. We need clean air. And I think it’s the responsibility of WE Energies to do that.”
Some experts say that air quality will only get worse if the plant continues to produce small particles that contaminate the air in the city.
WE Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze says that the company has already set goals with the EPA to reduce the valley plant’s emissions: “We also, in that letter to the EPA, reiterated our commitment to convert Valley to natural gas, provided that we can demonstrate a direct economic benefit to our customers.”
Schulze says the company has already filed an application with the Public Service Commission in order to install natural gas lines. She had no comment on direct links between valley’s emissions and the increase in air quality alerts in the city of Milwaukee.