SEED Coalition,
Sustainable Energy and Economic Development

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Media: Press Release


Power Plant Pollution Takes the Lives of 1,310 Texans; A 75% Reduction in Emissions Would Save 805 Lives

October 17th, 2000

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Karen Hadden

karen at

Pollution from electric power plants shortens the lives of 1310 citizens in Texas, and 30,100 Americans nationwide every year according to a new report released today by the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, US PIRG, and local groups around the state. Public health and environmental advocates say readily achievable pollution reductions would avoid roughly two thirds of those deaths.

The report was written by the Clean Air Task Force for the Clear the Air campaign to clean up dirty power plants.

"Pollution from dirty power plants is a serious threat to public health," said Dr. Frank Lane of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "More people die as a result of the pollution from these plants than from drunk driving or homicides every year. It's imperative that we treat these plants as the serious threat to public health that they are."

The report, Death, Disease and Dirty Power: Mortality and Health Damage Due to Air Pollution from Power Plants is the latest report by Clear the Air. The report is based on research conducted by Abt Associates, a firm used frequently by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to perform risk analysis and assessments of regulatory programs. The research was developed using methodology approved by the EPA and reviewed by Professor John Spengler of the Harvard School of Public Health. Among the report's findings:

  • Fine particle pollution from dirty power plants shortens the lives of 1,310 citizens in Texas and 30,100 nationwide each year.
  • In Dallas/Ft. Worth, 369 people a year lose their lives to power plant pollution.
  • In Houston, 201 people a year lose their lives to power plant pollution.
  • In San Antonio, 93 people a year lose their lives to power plant pollution.
  • In Longview/Tyler/Marshall, 64 people a year lose their lives to power plant pollution.
  • A 75% reduction in power plant pollution, would avoid 805 of these deaths in Texas and 18,700 nationally .
  • Texas has the 9th highest total number of deaths from power plants in the country
  • Each year power plant pollution also causes an estimated 31,700 asthma attacks in Texas, and 603,000 attacks nationally.
  • A 75% reduction in power plant pollution would prevent 19,100 of these attacks in Texas and would prevent 366,000 nationally.

"Cleaning up power plants would save more than twice as many lives each year as seat belts do," said Karen Hadden of the SEED Coalition, citing federal surveys on lives saved by seat belt usage. "The staggering numbers of death and disease due to power plant pollution cry out for Federal action."

Jamie Mitchell, of Public Citizen's Texas office noted that, "16 out of 19 coal-burning power plants in Texas are federally grandfathered, and Congress is looking at ways to require these and other U.S. plants to clean up. We need to see sharp cuts in the killer pollution from these plants if we are to save lives."

The report is available on the web at

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