Citizens for Alternatives to Longview Power (CALP)

It Ain't Built Yet.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

The following are some commonly asked questions about the proposed Longview Power Plant. Also refer to the Background page for more detailed information on GenPower and Longview Power.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

  1. What is Longview Power?
  2. Where would the proposed Longview Plant be located if it were built?
  3. Where will the new University High School be located relative to the proposed Longview?
  4. How many people would the plant employ if it were built?
  5. How many people would be needed to build the plant and mine the coal, and will union labor be used?
  6. What do PM10, SO2, NOx, Hg, PILOT and all those other letters mean?
  7. Will older, more polluting plants, like the Fort Martin Power Station, be closed because of Longview?
  8. Will Allegheny Power buy this plant?
  9. If Allegheny buys Longview, Will they shut down their Fort Martin plant?
  10. Will I be able to see the Longview Power plant where I live?
  11. What about the steam plume and the cooling towers?
  12. What does CALP want?

COAL & ELECTRICITY QUESTIONS

  1. Is the Fort Martin Power Station much "dirtier" than Longview Power?
  2. Will older, more polluting plants be closed because of Longview?
  3. Why don't you go after other, dirtier power plants?
  4. How much coal is mined in West Virginia now and in the past? How many miners were employed during these periods?
  5. How much electricity does West Virginia produce?
  6. How much coal does West Virginia burn in power plants?
  7. Do we need more generating capacity in West Virginia?

AIR POLLUTION QUESTIONS

  1. Is this a clean plant?
  2. Is Longview using Best Available Control Technology (BACT)?
  3. What about emissions from cars? Do they pollute more than these power plants?
  4. What do PM10, SO2, NOx, Hg, PILOT and all those other letters mean?
  5. What pollutants will this plant emit to the air?
  6. What health effects do these pollutants have?
  7. Come on... is our air really that bad?

OTHER POLLUTION QUESTIONS

  1. How much ash will be produced by this plant?
  2. What will happen to this ash? Will it be landfilled? Where?
  3. What is this I hear about treating polluted mine water?


ANSWERS TO GENERAL QUESTIONS


What is Longview Power?

  1. Longview Power, LLC, is a limited liability company (LLC) owned by GenPower, LLC. Longview Power is trying to build a 600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Monongalia County, West Virginia. In November 2006, Longview said it will increase the size to 695 MW. GenPower oversees the design of the plant and negotiates the permits and tax breaks. It sells this "Longview package" to another firm who will build or build and operate the plant.

Where will the Longview Power Plant be located?

  1. The power plant, if it were to be built, would be located in the community of Fort Martin, West Virginia. The proposed location is less than 5 miles north of downtown Morgantown, West Virginia and approximately 1 mile south of the Pennsylvania border. It would be built near the top of a ridge near the old Fort Martin School, and would be located approximately 1.5 miles west-southwest of the active Fort Martin Power Station owned by Allegheny Energy. Here are a couple of maps showing the location.

Where is the new University High School located relative to the proposed Longview coal power plant?

  1. The location of the new University High School is less than 2 miles from the Longview site (here is a map showing the location).

How many people would the plant employ if it is completed?

  1. GenPower says the plant will employ around 50 people once it becomes operational. These will not be Union jobs.

How many people would be needed to build the plant and mine the coal?

  1. The Bureau of Business & Economic Research at West Virginia University stated, in a handout passed out at the March 2003 public meeting, that ''peak'' construction employment would be 1200 workers. It is not clear whether this 1200 number is 1200 different people or 1200 "job-years" (which would be an average of 400 jobs for 3 years). GenPower/Longview has agreed to use Union labor in the construction of Longview, if it is built, but not to operate the plant or mine the coal, Therefore Longview has the backing of the Affiliated Construction (ACT) Trades Foundation.

    James Laurita, Jr. has said 150 to 200 miners per year would be needed to mine the coal needed for Longview. The companies owned by the Laurita family (MEPCO, Laurita Excavating, Laurita Energy, Dana Mining Co. of Pennsylvania, and others) do not use Union labor. If Longview displaces power generation from Allegheny's Fort Martin Power Station, as GenPower has been alluding to as justification for the pollution from this new plant, it is not clear how many miners would lose their jobs mining the coal that goes to Allegheny's Fort Martin Power Station. Most of the coal will come from Laurita's Pennsylvania mines, not from West Virginia mines.

What do PM10, SO2, NOx, Hg, PILOT and all those other letters mean?

  1. Please refer to the Terminology page for the definition of these and other terms.

Will older, more polluting plants be closed because of Longview?

  1. No. They are grandfathered in. This is not the new replacing the old. It is in addition to the old.

    The Clean Air Act was strengthened in 1977, but it allowed power plants operational before 1977 (and that includes the units at Rivesville [1943 and 1951], Albright [1952 and 1954], Fort Martin [1967 and 1968], Hatfield's Ferry [1969 to 1971], and Harrison [1972 to 1974]) to be exempt from the cleaner New Source Review provisions unless a "significant modification" is made to the plant.

    Advocates for Longview have adopted the mantra that the new power plant can produce electricity cheaper than old power plants (they like to use the Fort Martin power plant for comparison) and therefore old power plants will close. Can a new plant that costs almost $940 million to build and must conform to stricter pollution standards generate electricity cheaper than an older power plant that is already constructed and paid for? The Rivesville Power Station is 50 years old and is still operating! Someone who supposedly works at Allegheny's Fort Martin Power plant e mailed CALP and said, among other things, that the Fort Martin Power Station makes $1 million dollars per day profit.

    If old plants were to shut down, jobs at those plants would be lost. Advocates for Longview never mention this in their mantra or when they talk of jobs. Nor do they include it in their cost-benefit calculations! So the next time you hear someone say "Longview will create jobs and will replace power generated by old, dirty power plants," ask them how many existing jobs will be lost because of Longview.

Will Allegheny Power buy this plant?

  1. No. Longview is a competitor to Allegheny Power / Allegheny Energy.

If Allegheny buys Longview, Will they shut down their Fort Martin plant?

  1. As stated earlier, Allegheny is not buying Longview and is not going to close any of its power plants because of Longview.

    The Clean Air Act was strengthened in 1977, but it allowed power plants operational before 1977 (and that includes Allegheny power plants at Rivesville [built in 1943 and 1951], Albright [built in 1952 and 1954], Fort Martin [1967 and 1968], Hatfield's Ferry [1969 to 1971], and Harrison [1972 to 1974]) to be exempt from the cleaner New Source Review provisions unless a ''significant modification'' is made to the plant. Conveniently, no modifications they make to their plants is ever deemed ''significant.''

    Advocates for Longview have adopted the mantra that the new power plant can produce electricity cheaper than old power plants (they like to use the Fort Martin power plant for comparison) and therefore old power plants will close. Can a new plant that costs almost $3 Billion to build and must conform to stricter pollution standards generate electricity cheaper than an older power plant that is already constructed and paid for? The Rivesville Power Station is 50 years old and is still operating! An anonymous person who supposedly works at Allegheny's Fort Martin Power plant e mailed CALP and said, among other things, that the Fort Martin Power Station makes $1 million dollars per day profit.

    If old plants were to shut down, jobs at those plants would be lost. Advocates for Longview never mention this in their propaganda. Nor do they include it in their cost-benefit calculations! So the next time you hear someone say "Longview will create jobs and will replace power generated by old, dirty power plants," ask them how many existing jobs will be lost because of Longview.

    Allegheny Power recently announced plans to install pollution control equipment at its Fort Martin Power Station.

Will I be able to see the Longview Power plant where I live?

  1. The emissions stack will be visible for miles on a clear day. Look at the Visual Impacts map and find the location of your house.

What about the steam plume and the big cooling towers?

  1. Longview will have a series of 20 cooling fans that will each be approximately 50 feet high.

What does CALP want?

  1. CALP is a collection of groups and individuals. Some of CALP's supporters would like to see the plant built, but want all of the pollution emitted by the plant to be offset locally, resulting in no net increase in air pollution from this plant. This has been done elsewhere. An example of just such a community benefits agreement is being worked out in Wisconsin, and a draft of it is here .  Others in CALP are opposed to the County giving a tax break to Longview, and yet others are opposed to the aesthetics and placement of the plant.

    The major issues that concern CALP members are the health effects of any additional coal-fired power plant (no matter how "clean"), the negative economic consequences (e.g., the potential for limiting future growth), tax fairness, and the negative effects on the overall quality of life in Morgantown and Monongalia County. All CALP supporters agree that the current Longview Power proposal is bad for Monongalia County.


COAL & ELECTRICITY QUESTIONS


Is the Fort Martin Power Station much "dirtier" than Longview Power?

  1. The Fort Martin Power Station (nominally rated at 1152 megawatts capacity) is almost two times larger than Longview (nominally rated at 600 megawatts capacity). It is also around 35 years old. Because Fort Martin was built before the 1977 changes to the Clean Air Act, it does have higher air emissions than those proposed by Longview.

Will older, more polluting plants be closed because of Longview?

  1. As stated above, Delegate Cindy Frich, at the public hearing on September 15, 2003, said she spoke to an official at Allegheny Power/Allegheny Energy and that official said Allegheny was not planning to close any power plants because of Longview. Also noted above, old power plants (pre 1977) are not subject to the same restrictions as newer power plants. The units at Rivesville came online in 1943 and 1951. Albright's units became operational in 1952 and 1954. Fort Martin's units came online in 1967 and 1968. Hatfield's Ferry in Greene County, PA (near Fort Martin and Longview) has three units that became operational in 1969, 1970, and 1971]. The three units at Harrison came online in 1972, 1973, and 1974.

    Advocates for Longview have adopted the mantra that the new power plant can produce electricity cheaper than old power plants (they like to use the Fort Martin power plant for comparison) and therefore old power plants will close. Can a new plant that costs almost $940 million to build and must conform to stricter pollution standards generate electricity cheaper than an older power plant that is already constructed and paid for? The Rivesville Power Station is 50 years old and is still operating! Someone who supposedly works at Allegheny's Fort Martin Power plant e mailed CALP and said, among other things, that the Fort Martin Power Station makes $1 million dollars per day profit.

    If old plants were to shut down, jobs at those plants would be lost. Advocates for Longview never mention this in their mantra or when they talk of jobs. Nor do they include it in their cost-benefit calculations! So the next time you hear someone say "Longview will create jobs and will replace power generated by old, dirty power plants," ask them how many existing jobs will be lost because of Longview.

Why don't you go after other, dirtier power plants?

  1. As stated several times above, older power plants are exempt from many of the restrictions placed on new plants. CALP opposes this loophole for older plants, and CALP supporters have written Congress and the President to redress these inequities. However, there is no mechanism whereby CALP can do much about these old power plants without a change in the laws.

How much coal is mined in West Virginia now and in the past? How many miners were employed during these periods?

  1. A graph of coal production in West Virginia from 1890 to 1992 is on the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration web page. A table with this information through 2002 is available from the WV Office of Miners' Health Safety & Training web site.


    The most coal produced in West Virginia was in 1997 (181,914,000 short tons), followed by 1998 (180,794,012 short tons), and 2001 (175,052,857 short tons). The fourth biggest year was 1948 when 168,589,033 short tons were produced. Source: the WV Office of Miners' Health Safety & Training.

    In 1997, direct employment in West Virginia coal mines was 18,165 workers. The numbers were 17,383 in 1998, and 15,729 in 2001. By comparison, in 1948, the fourth largest coal-producing year in West Virginia, 125,669 coal miners were employed. Source: the WV Office of Miners' Health Safety & Training.

    Interesting note: Dividing the tons of coal by the number of miners results in an average of 10,400.6 short tons of coal being produced per miner in 1998, while an average of 1,341.5 short tons of coal were produced per miner fifty years earlier in 1948.

How much electricity does West Virginia produce?

  1. A total of 89,749,562 megawatt hours of electricity were generated in West Virginia in 2004 (the latest data available) and only 28,919,000 megawatt hours (32% of total electricity produced) were consumed in West Virginia (www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/st_profiles/west_virginia.html, www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/states/sep_fuel/html/fuel_use_es.html).

How much coal does West Virginia burn in power plants?

  1. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration web page at http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/coal/statepro/imagemap/wv2p1.shtmll, approximately 97.5% of the coal recovered in WV was used for the generation of electricity in 1999.

Do we need more generating capacity in West Virginia?

  1. A total of 89,749,562 megawatt hours of electricity were generated in West Virginia in 2004 (the latest data available) and only 28,919,000 megawatt hours (32% of total electricity produced) were actually used in West Virginia (www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/st_profiles/west_virginia.html, www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/states/sep_fuel/html/fuel_use_es.html). So West Virginia produces over 3 times the electricity it consumes.

AIR POLLUTION QUESTIONS


Is this a clean plant?

  1. Longview Power would emit almost 20 million pounds per year of air pollutants. This includes 110 pounds per hour of fine particulate matter, over 45 pounds per hour of sulfuric acid, 23 pounds per hour of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) [0.35 pounds per hour of this will be from benzene], over 733 pounds per hour of sulfur dioxide, 489 pounds per hour of nitrogen oxides, and many more. This does not include the hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide that would be emitted per hour. For a larger list of pollutants, please refer to the Emissions page on this web site.

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency has told the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection that the Longview Power plant, if allowed to go forward as presently designed, will result in West Virginia needing to modify its State Implementation Plan and come up with offsets elsewhere.

    The National Park Service and the Monongahela National Forest Supervisor have told the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection that emissions from the plant, as currently designed, will result in an unacceptable level of acid deposition and haze at Dolly Sods, Otter Creek Wilderness Area, and Shenandoah National Park.

    If Longview is affecting those areas, what is happening right around the plant in Morgantown, Monongalia County, Greene County, and Fayette County?

Is Longview using Best Available Control Technology (BACT)?

  1. Not according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The USEPA said, in its September 30, 2003 comments to the WVDEP regarding the draft permit, recommended control technologies which could potentially reduce emissions nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulfur dioxide by 1,000 tons per year and particulate matter by 236 tons per year. For example, the nearby Harrison Power Station is using magnesium enhanced lime to treat sulfur dioxide to lower limits than those proposed by Longview and given to them in the draft permit. PPL Generating Company’s Montour Plant in Montour County, Pennsylvania achieves a lower emission rate using higher performance low-NOx burners than those proposed by Longview

    Also to be considered is the fact that a pulverized coal boiler (proposed by Longview) is not as clean as a fluidized-bed boiler.  However, if you compare a pulverized coal boiler that has scrubbers, baghouses, etc. to a fluidized bed boiler that does not have scrubbers, etc., baghouses (an apples to oranges comparison) as Longview did in its permit application, Longview’s proposed PC boiler appears to be cleaner.  What Longview refuses to do is compare a pulverized coal boiler with scrubbers against a fluidized bed boiler with scrubbers (an apples to apples comparison).  Power plants that have pollution controls in addition to fluidized bed boilers have emissions levels that are lower than those proposed by Longview, and Longview knows it but continues to mislead the public into thinking otherwise.

    Other, even better, technologies are becoming available. Clean Coal technologies such as Integrated Gasification/Combined Cycle (IGCC) boilers provide electricity at prices almost as low as Longview, while reducing emissions much further. So while Longview’s emissions control is better than some older plants, it needs to meet the standard of “Best Available” required under the Clean Air Act.

What about emissions from cars? Do they pollute more than these power plants?

  1. No and yes. The following table was taken from the web site http://www.scorecard.org/:

    1999 Emissions Summary of Criteria Air Pollutants [for West Virginia]
    (Expressed in tons of pollutant emitted)
      Carbon monoxide Nitrogen oxides PM-2.5 PM-10 Sulfur dioxide Volatile organic compounds
    Mobile Sources (on-road and off-road vehicles, lawnmowers, etc.) 531,454 138,588  18,551   73,250  44,050  60,990
    Area Sources (small stationary sources like gasoline stations and dry cleaners) 100,373  21,501  21,643   52,280  11,094  59,157
    Point Sources (large stationary sources like power plants) 123,557 343,369  20,936   29,157 754,689  27,571
    All sources 755,384 503,458  61,131 154,686 809,833 147,718
    As you can see from the above table, power-plant-type sources produce 17 times more sulfur dioxide (SO2 - the major contributor to acid rain/deposition), almost 2.5 times more nitrogen oxides (NOx - a major contributor to ozone production), and about the same particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM-2.5) compared to mobile sources like motor vehicles. On the other hand, mobile sources such as cars produce over 4¼ times more carbon monoxide (CO - another contributor to ozone), over 2 times more volatile organic compounds (VOCs - another component in ozone production) and over 2 times the PM-10 that power-plant-type sources produce. In other words, ''No'' for NOx, SO2 and PM-2.5; ''Yes'' for CO, PM-10, and VOCs. The pollutants of greatest concern in Monongalia County are primarily nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide, thus power plant emissions have by far the greatest impact on our air quality.

What pollutants will this plant emit to the air?

  1. Mercury, benzene, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and many more. Please refer to the Emissions page for a listing of air pollutants and the quantities allowed, at least in the draft permit.

What health effects do these pollutants have?

  1. Ozone (O3) is a colorless gas formed by chemical reactions of carbon monoxide (CO), methane, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of sunlight. Ozone is the major component of haze and smog.

    Ground-level ozone is a major health and environmental concern. Not only is smog ugly, it damages the lungs and makes them more sensitive to other irritants. People with respiratory problems, the elderly, and children are more susceptible. A study released by the California Air Resources Board in January 2002, showed that ozone not only makes existing asthma worse, it can cause asthma in children.

    Ground-level ozone should not be confused with the hole in the ozone layer. Ozone pollution produced from motor vehicle and power plant emissions will never reach the stratosphere where ozone helps to protect the Earth from ultraviolet rays.

    Nitrogen oxides (NOx or “nocks”), contribute to high ozone levels (smog) and acid rain/deposition. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of NOx we have here. West Virginia is already the fifth-worst state in the country for asthma, and the Charleston Daily Mail article discussing the study states that "more than 20 percent of school-age children had been diagnosed with asthma as of last year."

    The plant will emit small particulate matter, lead, mercury, arsenic, benzene, and other compounds that are known to adversely impact health, and in some cases, cause cancer.

Come on... is our air really that bad?

  1. Yes. Go to http://www.scorecard.org and type the zip code 26505 in the "Find your community section" in the upper right portion of the site. Then choose Monongalia County, and see how we compare.

OTHER POLLUTION QUESTIONS


How much ash will be produced by this plant?

  1. The amount of coal ash to be landfilled will vary somewhat from day to day, and has been estimated to be as much as 300 to 400 tons per day. The amount of ash released to the air (fine particulate matter) is expected to be 110 pounds per hour (well over one ton per day).

What will happen to recovered ash? Will it be landfilled? Where?

  1. Recovered ash will be landfilled at the nearby ash landfill used by Allegheny Power for its Fort Martin power station.

What is this I hear about treating polluted mine water?

  1. According to an article on the FindLaw Corporate Counsel Center web site, http://news.corporate.findlaw.com/prnewswire/20030925/25sep2003145331.shtml, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is providing a $1.8 million grant toward a mine-water-treatment project to be located at the Shannopin Mine near Bobtown in Greene County, PA. In addition, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is giving a $900,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to the project. The Commonwealth is providing a low-interest loan of $4.3 million through PENNVEST, and Dana Mining Company (Laurita) is kicking in $6 million. According to the article, Dana Mining's nearby Dooley Run Mine was shut down due to rising water levels in the Shannopin Mine. The Shannopin Coal Company mined coal at the Shannopin Mine from the 1920s until the 1990s, declared bankruptcy, and abandoned the Shannopin Mine. Pennsylvania collected $282,000 in forfeited bonds.

    DCED funds will be administered through AMD Reclamation Inc., a non-profit organization formed by GenPower, LLC and Dana Mining Company. If the Longview Power Plant is built, treated mine water from this plant will supposedly be used as cooling water for the power plant. Presumably, the water will be carried in a pipeline from Bobtown, PA to the community of Fort Martin, WV.


LONGVIEW IS SHORT SIGHTED!