George Neal Station South

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm| Climate change}} George Neal Station South is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by MidAmerican Energy (which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway) near Salix, Iowa.

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Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from George Neal South

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] 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.[2]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from George Neal South

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 11 $84,000,000
Heart attacks 18 $2,000,000
Asthma attacks 200 $10,000
Hospital admissions 9 $200,000
Chronic bronchitis 7 $3,200,000
Asthma ER visits 12 $5,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed April 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 Iowa, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that was not recognized 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 Iowa's George Neal Station South and George Neal Station North were two sites that have groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[4]

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

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Plant Data

  • Owner: MidAmerican Energy
  • Parent Company: Berkshire Hathaway
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 640 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 640 MW (1979)
  • Location: 2761 Port Neal Cir., Salix, IA 51052
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.301944, -96.358012
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 4,673,886 tons (2006), 5,018,235.41 tons (2008)[5]
  • SO2 Emissions: 16,440 tons (2006), 14,906.10 tons (2008)[6]
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • NOx Emissions: 4,748 tons (2006), 5,420.76 tons (2008)[6]
  • Mercury Emissions: 400 lb. (2005)

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. Iowa Operating Permit Application, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  6. 6.0 6.1 Iowa Operating Permit Application, Form 5.0, Title V Annual Emissions Summary

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