CALP: Environmental Impacts

Power plant emissions are the major source of pollutants that cause acid rain and global warming.

Acid Rain

Acid rain occurs when acidic pollutants contaminate rain, snow, and fog, or when acidic gases or particles fall to the ground. This causes streams and lakes to become acidic, killing fish and other aquatic life. It damages trees and sensitive forest soils, and causes buildings, statues, and sculptures to decay.

Scientists have confirmed that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are the primary causes of acid rain. Approximately two thirds of all SO2 and 1/4 of all NOx comes from electric power plants that burn fossil fuels. About 90% of these plants burn coal.

Global Warming

Greenhouse gases are gases that trap and retain heat in the atmosphere and our planet's surface. Some greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides, occur naturally in the atmosphere, while others, such as hydrofluorocarbons, are produced only by human activities.

The burning of fossil fuels releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Many scientists believe that global climate change caused by carbon dioxide emissions is the biggest environmental crisis facing the world today.


Nitrogen oxides react with carbon monoxide and other carbon compounds to produce ozone, the major component of haze and smog. Particulates that contribute to acid rain also decrease visibility.

Pollutants Released by Longview

* Releases of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are taken from Longview Power's permit application. This application does not require that Longview Power estimate carbon dioxide emissions, even though carbon dioxide emissions play a major role in global warming. Releases of carbon dioxide are calculated below. Note that one can come up with estimates that range from 1.8 to 5.5 million tons of CO2 per year, depending on the source.

kw x 3414 = Btu / hour (

600,000 kilowatts x 3414 = 2.05 x 10E9 Btu / hour
(2.05 x 10E9 Btu / hour) x (24 hours/day) x (365 days/year) = 1.8 x 10E13 Btu / year
(208 pounds CO2 / million Btu) x (1.8 x 10E13 Btu / year) = 3.74 x 10E9 pounds CO2 / year (
(3.74 x 10E9 pounds CO2 / year) x (1 ton / 2000 pounds) = 1.87 10E6 tons CO2 / year
Note, however that the following source results in CO2 emissions about 3 times greater than calculated above: (2.09 (DOE) pounds of CO2 per kilowatt hour of operation)


Longview Power/GenPower, LLC Permit Application

US Environmental Protection Agency. Acid Rain.

US Environmental Protection Agency. Global Warming.