Michigan City Generating Station
Michigan City Generating Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by NiSource in Michigan City, Indiana.
- Owner: Northern Indiana Public Service Company
- Parent Company: NiSource
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 540 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: 540 MW (1974)
- Location: 101 Wabash St., Michigan City, IN 46360
- GPS Coordinates: 41.7207, -86.9069
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees:
- Unit Retirements: Unit scheduled for retirement in 2028 
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 3,240,028 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions: 15,993 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions: 6,232 tons
- 2005 Mercury Emissions: 162 lb.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Michigan City
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. Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, 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. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. 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. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, 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.
Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Michigan City Generating Station
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||30||$11,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed March 2011
Dean Mitchell Station to close, pollution controls at three other plants
On January 13, 2011, the Obama administration brokered a settlement in which Northern Indiana Public Service Co. will permanently shut down an idled coal-fired power plant in Gary, Indana - the Dean Mitchell Generating Station - and spend $600 million to install and improve pollution controls at its three other aging electric generators - Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield, Bailly Generating Station in Chesterfield, and the Michigan City Generating Station. The improvements will reduce smog- and soot-forming sulfur oxide by 46,000 tons a year and curb lung-damaging nitrogen oxide by 18,000 tons annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. NIPSCO faced legal troubles for upgrading the power plants to keep them operating while failing to install modern pollution controls required under the Clean Air Act's New Source Review provisions. The plants avoided the toughest provisions of the law for decades, in part because regulators assumed during the 1970s that they wouldn’t be running much longer.
The settlement is the 17th negotiated by the EPA and the Justice Department since Obama took office, as part of a national campaign to reduce air pollution from the oldest existing coal plants, some of which date back to the 1940s. Most of the cases have involved utilities in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. NIPSCO also will pay a $3.5 million fine and spend another $9.5 million on environmental projects, including soot filters for old diesel engines, cleaner woodstoves and restoration of land next to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Articles and Resources
- "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
- "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
- Michael Hawthorne, "Deal would clear up coal-plant pollution" Chicago tribune, Jan. 13, 2011.
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Environmental Integrity Project, "Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants", July 2007.
- Facility Registry System, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed Feb. 2009.
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