Spurlock Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Spurlock Power Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by East Kentucky Power Cooperative near Maysville, Kentucky.

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Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: East Kentucky Power Cooperative
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,371 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 325 MW (1977), 510 MW (1981), 268 MW (2005), 268 MW (2009)
  • Location: Route 8, Maysville, KY 41056
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.699167, -83.816667
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 8,105,061 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 38,877 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 8,125 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 300 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Spurlock Power 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.[1] 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 Spurlock Power 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.[2]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Spurlock Power Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 76 $550,000,000
Heart attacks 120 $13,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,200 $62,000
Hospital admissions 56 $1,300,000
Chronic bronchitis 45 $20,000,000
Asthma ER visits 65 $24,000

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

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Kentucky, 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.[3] The report mentioned Kentucky based Mill Creek Station, Shawnee Fossil Plant and the Spurlock Power Station were three sites that have groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[4]

Coal Waste Site

Spurlock ranked 98th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[5] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[6]

Spurlock Power Station ranked number 98 on the list, with 196,954 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[5]

East Kentucky Power Cooperative Settlement

On July 2, 2007 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that East Kentucky Power Cooperative, a coal-fired electric power plant, will spend about $650 million in pollution upgrades and another $750,000 penalty in a civil suit for violations of the New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act at its Spurlock Power Station, Cooper Power Station and Dale Power Station.

“Today’s settlement is another example of the Justice Department’s continued commitment to aggressively enforcing the Clean Air Act,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The emissions reductions from this settlement are substantial, and we are pleased that East Kentucky finally agreed to resolve this litigation on acceptable terms and bring its facilities into compliance with important provisions of the Clean Air Act.”

The EPA and DOJ in 2004 filed a lawsuit against the utility for "illegally modifying and increasing air pollution at two of its coal-fired power plants."

The settlement states that the utility will install pollution control equipment to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by more than 60,000 tons per year.[7]

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


  1. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  2. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  3. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  4. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  6. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  7. "U.S. Announces Clean Air Act Settlement with Electric Utility," U.S. EPA, July 2, 2007

External Sources

Related GEM.wiki articles