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Paradise Fossil Plant, Paradise, Kentucky

The Paradise Fossil Plant was constructed between 1967 and 1970. It is a coal-burning plant located near the town of Paradise, Kentucky. Owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, this plant produces 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. Like all coal-burning plants, it uses coal to heat water into steam, which powers electricity-producing turbines.

Unfortunately, coal is not considered a clean source of energy. When it is burned, it emits a variety of potentially dangerous byproducts, including mercury, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to acid rain. The Paradise Fossil Plant in particular has drawn criticism from private and government organizations in recent years.

The Environmental Impact of the Paradise Power Plant

The large amount of electricity produced by the Paradise Power Plant requires it to burn large quantities of coal. Unfortunately, this makes it one of the largest sources of air pollution in the country, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. In 2006, the Center and residents of Kentucky filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alleging that it had failed to enforce adequate restrictions regarding the Paradise Fossil Plant.

When the suit was filed, the plant was burning 7 million tons of coal every year, releasing thousands of different toxins into the air. Many of these toxins have documented effects on people’s health as well as the environment. Fortunately, since the lawsuit was filed, the Tennessee Valley Authority has taken steps to make the Paradise Power Plant a cleaner place. These steps have included using technology called “scrubbers,” which reduce the sulfur dioxide emitted by the plant.

Unfortunately, the dangers of a power plant may extend beyond pollutant emissions. For example, the fuel for a coal-burning plant must be mined, which itself can damage the environment. In addition, many power plants of all types constructed before 1986 contained asbestos in the insulation, cement, safety gear, and other components. Anyone who has worked in a power plant, or lived near one, needs to be aware of all the potential health risks.

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