State Line Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

State Line Plant was a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Dominion in Hammond, Indiana.

The plant closed in March 2012.[1]

Location and environmental justice

Immediately across the coal plant’s border is Chicago’s East Side neighborhood. The plant is about 12 miles southeast of downtown Chicago, with five schools and several parks within a mile of the plant. The neighborhood surrounding the plant is one of the poorest in Greater Chicago, and one of the major Latino population centers in the city, raising issues around environmental justice and coal. State Line is among over 100 coal plants near residential areas.[2]

Loading map...

Plant Closing

On November 18, 2010, Dominion said it expects to shut the Salem Harbor coal/oil-fired power plant in Massachusetts within seven years "as the high cost of keeping up with ever more stringent pollution rules could make it uneconomic to keep operating the plant," a company executive said. Dominion CFO Mark McGettrick also told investors that, in addition to the 738-megawatt Salem Harbor, the company may also close the 515 MW State Line Plant in Indiana between 2014 and 2017. The first of the coal units still operating at both plants entered service more than half a century ago. The environmental regulations McGettrick referred to was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's planned one-hour ozone rule for 2015-2017, known as the Transport Rule: "If that rule goes into effect, we do not plan to install expensive environmental controls at either of those two stations," Dominion spokesman Dan Genest told Reuters.[3]

In a May 2011 conference call with financial analysts, Dominion executives announced they had decided that, financially, it is not worth upgrading the State Line Plant to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. The company plans to shutter State Line as early as 2012 and no later than 2014.[4]

Dominion expects the plant to become uneconomic to run by mid-2014, when EPA's proposed Transport Rule would require the power company to install scrubbers and other pollution control equipment at the plant. Under the rule, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions that cross state lines would be required to drop to 71 percent and 52 percent below 2005 levels, respectively, in the next three years. EPA also recently proposed the first national standard for emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxins from coal plants, which would take effect in 2015.[5]

Dominion Resources said it is planning to generate new power in Indiana through a 750-MW wind farm now under construction. Dominion is partnering with BP Wind Energy to build the 750-megawatt Fowler Ridge Wind Farm under construction in Benton County. The two firms are also partnering to develop wind projects near the Kincaid coal plant in Illinois.[5]

In its 2011 financial documents, Dominion said it will shutter the plant by March 2012. The company opted in early 2011 to withdraw State Line from an auction for long-term electricity contracts. If it had included the plant in its bid, the company said, it would have needed to spend several million dollars installing new pollution controls, which they did not see as economical.[6]

Plant Data

Ida Halliburton talks about State Line
  • Owner: State Line Energy LLC
  • Parent Company: Dominion
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 614 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 100 MW (1955), 125 MW (1955), 180 MW (1962), 209 MW (1962)
  • Location: 103rd St., Hammond, IN 46320
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.7072, -87.5217
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

Larry O'Bannon speaks about asthma
  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 3,052,479 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 7,348 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 7,288 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 200 lb.


Commonwealth Edison (or 'ComEd'), the largest electric utility in Illinois, originally built the coal plant in 1926 and 1929, and later added a 197-megawatt coal-fired generating unit in 1955. A 318-megawatt unit came online in 1962, bringing the plant's total capacity to 515 megawatts. In 1977, Congress exempted older plants from Clean Air Act amendments that imposed tighter emissions limits and stricter standards for new coal plants. In 2002, Dominion took over the still-operating State Line station. The power company paid about $182 million in 2002 to acquire all of Mirant State Line Ventures assets, which included the coal plant.[5] In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused ComEd and Dominion of repeatedly violating federal soot limits and upgrading State Line without installing pollution controls required by federal law. The plant was grandfathered in under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 and exempted from modern pollution controls.[4]

Clean Air Act violations

On April 1, 2013, Dominion agreed to pay a $3.4 million civil penalty and spend $9.75 million on environmental mitigation projects to resolve Clean Air Act violations at coal-fired power plants in three states. The affected power plants are the Kincaid Generating Station in Kincaid, Illinois, the State Line Plant in State Line, Indiana, and the Brayton Point Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. Under the settlement, Dominion must install or upgrade pollution control technology on two plants, and permanently retire the State Line plant. The EPA said the settlement will result in reductions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter by more than 70,000 tons per year.[7]

Citizen Activism

NAACP Clearing the Air Road Tour

In April 2010, Jacqui Patterson of the NAACP Climate Justice interviewed community members in Hammond. Jacqui wrote the following account of the impacts of the State Line Plant:[8] Only a dozen other coal plants nationwide emit more nitrogen oxide in relation to the amount of electricity generated than State Line, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis of federal data. Illinois officials have documented that air pollution drifting from northwest Indiana is a big contributor to the Chicago area's dirty air problems. But State Line's address in Hammond, Indiana, makes it difficult for Illinois officials to target the plant for enforcement.[4]

Reverend Homer Calvin discusses air pollution problems in the area
Several Hammond residents who are NAACP members and officers, gathered at the plant to share their perspectives on the plant, the neighboring community, and the suspected impact of the plant on their families and communities.
Ms. Ida Halliburton starts out by speaking about the plant in general and how it might impact the community NAACP serves.
Mr. Larry O’Bannon speaks about the health effects potentially connected to the plant and cites the asthma of his son as well as the proliferation of respiratory illnesses in his community, including many people he knows who are on assistive breathing machines.
Reverend Homer Calvin describes the communities surrounding the plant as well as the further areas that may be impacted and also speaks of the multiple persons he knows who are on respirators as he wonders if this is the result of years of ingesting the emissions from State Line.
Mr. Leo Harwell showed me some of the surrounding areas of the State Line Plant.

2010 report: State Line plant costs public between $500 and 700 million since 2002

According to a 2010 report by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), "Dominion Resources’ 'Unpaid Health Bills': The Hidden Public Costs of Soot and Smog From the State Line Coal Plant on the Chicago-Northwest Indiana Border and on the Shore of Lake Michigan Total: $540 - $720 Million Since 2002", pollution from Dominion's State Line coal plant on the Illinois-Indiana border and along the Lake Michigan shores has caused up to $720 million in health and related damages in the last 8 years. The report uses data from the National Research Council finding that particulate matter (soot) from the State Line coal plant creates about $77 million in health and related damages annually which are imposed on the public. Overall, the coal plant created an estimated $540 million to $720 million in public health damages and costs since 2002.[9]

According to the study, the State Line facility emitted more nitrogen oxide in 2005 than nearly three-fourths of the 406 coal plants surveyed, in relation to the amount of electricity it generated. State Line allegedly violated its air permit limit for soot and smoke thickness more than 900 times over a six-year period.[5]

The State Line coal plant is located on the Illinois/Indiana border, 13 miles from downtown Chicago and along the Lake Michigan shoreline. About 78,000 people live within three miles of the plant. The plant continues to operate with much equipment built between 1955 and 1962, as Dominion Resources, the plant owner, has not installed modern pollution controls such as scrubbers. ELPC’s report examines recent scientific research on the health effects of soot and smog pollution from coal plants. Numerous authoritative scientific panels have found that particulate matter pollution from coal plants harms public health, causing various health detriments including premature death, heart attacks, and cardiovascular and respiratory disease, the personal and economic hardships of which are borne by the public.[9]

The report adds new information to the debate on how coal plants in Illinois and Indiana should be operated and regulated. U.S. EPA initiated an enforcement action against the State Line coal plant in 2009, citing 4,770 minutes of opacity (“soot and smoke”) violations between 2004 and 2008. In September 2010, ELPC and other health and environmental groups filed a notice of intent to sue Dominion Resources for repeatedly violating the amount of soot and smoke the plant is allowed to emit under the Clean Air Act.[9]

2011 Report: State Line top environmental justice offender

The 2011 report, "Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People in Illinois" by Adrian Wilson, NAACP, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), and the Indigenous Environmental Network used an algorithm combining levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions together with demographic factors in order to calculate an environmental justice score for the 431 coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Twelve plants were ranked the top environmental justice offenders, producing a total of 48,582 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity in 2005 — only 1.2% of total U.S. electricity production, yet affecting a total of 1.78 million Americans who live within 3 miles of one of the 12 plants, with an average per capita income of $14,626 (compared with the U.S. average of $21,587), and 76.3% people of color.

The plants were:

  1. Crawford Generating Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
  2. Hudson Generating Station, Jersey City, NJ (PSEG)
  3. Fisk Generating Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
  4. Valley Power Plant, Milwaukee, WI (Wisconsin Energy)
  5. State Line Plant, Hammond, IN (Dominion)
  6. Lake Shore Plant, Cleveland, OH (FirstEnergy)
  7. Gallagher Generating Station, New Albany, IN (Duke Energy)
  8. Bridgeport Harbor Station, Bridgeport, CT (PSEG)
  9. River Rouge Power Plant, River Rouge, MI (DTE Energy)
  10. Cherokee Station, Commerce City, CO (Xcel Energy)
  11. Four Corners Steam Plant, Niinahnízaad, NM (Arizona Public Service Company)
  12. Waukegan Generating Station, Waukegan, IL (Edison International)

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from State Line Plant

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] 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.[11]

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

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 24 $180,000,000
Heart attacks 38 $4,200,000
Asthma attacks 420 $22,000
Hospital admissions 18 $410,000
Chronic bronchitis 15 $6,700,000
Asthma ER visits 27 $10,000

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

Articles and Resources


Related articles

External Sources