Ohio power plant to go green following multi-state settlement‏

Nick Rees Apr. 2, 2009, 10:00am

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - FirstEnergy Corp.'s $200 million plan to convert an Ohio power plant to a biomass burning facility to reduce emissions that were blown into Connecticut has drawn praise from Connecticut's attorney general.

The plant is a subsidiary of Ohio Edison.

"Ohio Edison is doing the right thing, switching to fuels that pollute less, saving lives and fighting global warming," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. "Burning biomass instead of coal will literally save lives in Connecticut, as well as reduce incidence of asthma and other respiratory ailments."

Two units at FirstEnergy's R.E. Burger plant in Shadyside, Ohio, are being retrofitted to burn wood and other biomass materials, reducing the production of harmful emissions and slashing greenhouse gas pollution. The transition to biomass burning is expected to be completed by 2013.

The conversion of the plant comes as part of a 2005 settlement of a lawsuit filed by Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. FirstEnergy was sued for failing to clean up plants that produced harmful emissions that were carried by prevailing winds to Connecticut and other states.

The company agreed to cleanup four plants and pay fines as part of the second-largest air pollution federal settlement with an electric utility.

"Ohio Edison's conversion to biomass is a model for the industry, which should cease its hopeless, selfish and shortsighted fight against clean air laws and global warming science," Blumenthal said. "This company is choosing to be part of solution, not part of the problem, a path other power producers must take or face litigation from my office and others.

A closed loop system will be created by the company, whereby a crop grown specifically for burning, such as corn stalk or wheatgrass, will be cultivated, absorbing the carbon dioxide emitted by the plant. This loop will produce no excess greenhouse gases, which are the primary cause of global warming.

More News