Independence Steam Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Independence Steam Station is a 1,800.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by Entergy near Newark, Arkansas.


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Plant Data

Sierra Club

According to the Sierra Club, Independence and White Bluff are the two largest coal-fired power plants in the nation that lack modern emissions-reducing scrubbers. The NGO also says Entergy undertook projects in 2009 without obtaining proper permits, which resulted in an emissions increase. The parties entered into a settlement, with Independence planned for retirement by 2030 and White Bluff by 2028.[9]

Sale of Ownership Unit 2

In 1996 and 1999 Entergy Power sold part ownership of its share in Unit 2. Entergy power held an 31.5 ownership before the transactions. It sold a 10% share to City Water, Light and Power Jonesboro and a 7.13% share to East Texas Electric Co-op reducing its share to 14.37%[7]

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Independence Steam Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[10] The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma-related episodes and asthma-related emergency room visits, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, peneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution is formed from a combination of soot, acid droplets, and heavy metals formed from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and soot. Among those particles, the most dangerous are the smallest (smaller than 2.5 microns), which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities.

The table below estimates the death and illness attributable to the Independence Steam Station. Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[11]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 69 $500,000,000
Heart attacks 100 $11,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,100 $69,000
Hospital admissions 49 $1,100,000
Chronic bronchitis 42 $18,000,000
Asthma ER visits 73 $27,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 12,485,094 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 26,172 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 14,663 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 445 lb.

Citizen groups

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Arkansas, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[12] The report mentioned Arkansas based Flint Creek Power Plant and the Independence Steam Station were two sites that have groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[13]

The 2010 EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club report, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," identified 39 more coal combustion waste (CCW) disposal sites in 21 states that have contaminated groundwater or surface water with toxic metals and other pollutants, including Independence, based on monitoring data and other information available in state agency files. The report builds on an earlier 2010 report by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites", which documented similar damage at 31 coal combustion waste dumpsites in 14 states. When added to the 67 damage cases that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has already acknowledged, the total number of sites polluted by coal ash or coal scrubber sludge comes to at least 137 in 34 states.[14]

The report listed Independent's 34 coal waste monitoring wells with widespread contamination of groundwater, including arsenic, cadmium and lead above Maximum Contaminant Level (MCLs). From 2002-2009, SMCLs were exceeded repeatedly for iron, manganese, and sulfate. Iron concentrations were as high as 131 times the SMCL, and arsenic was approaching the MCL in the wells. 25 irrigation wells and one drinking well are within one mile of the plant.[14]

Articles and Resources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Generation Portfolio", accessed July 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Annual Report 2019, page 24", accessed July 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Independence", accessed July 2020
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Power Resources & Distribution", accessed July 2020
  5. "Wholesale Generation Portfolio", accessed July 2020
  6. "ETEC Projects", accessed July 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 "SEC Docket, Volume 67, Part 2, page 1616", accessed July 2020
  8. "EIA 923 March 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Entergy to phase out two coal-fired plants in Arkansas," Arkansas Gazette, November 17, 2018
  10. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  11. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  12. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  13. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Jeff Stant, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club report, August 26, 2010.


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