Talk:American Electric Power

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Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AEP coal plants

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 American Electric Power coal plants

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 1,236 $9.03 billion
Heart attacks 1,921 $209.8 million
Asthma attacks 19,905 $1.04 million
Hospital admissions 292 $4.04 million
Chronic bronchitis 743 $329.45 million
Asthma ER visits 1,114 $0.4 million

Source: "Health Impacts - annual - of Existing Plants," Clean Air Task Force Excel worksheet, available under "Data Annex" at "Death and Disease from Power Plants," Clean Air Task Force. Note: This data includes the following plants owned by AEP and subsidiaries AEP NUGs, Appalachian Power Co, Central Operating Co, Columbus Southern Co, Indiana Michigan Power Co, Kentucky Power Co, Ohio Power Co, Southwestern Electric Power Co, and Public Service Electric Power Co: Coleto Creek, DeCordova Steam Electric Station, Martin Lake, Monticello, Oklaunion, Sandow (AEP NUGs); Clinch River, Glen Lyn, Amos Plant, Kanawha, Mountaineer Plant (Appalachian Power Co); Cardinal, Philip Sporn, (Central Operating Co); Conesville, (Columbus Southern Co); Tanners Creek, Rockport Plant, (Indiana Michigan Power Co); Gavin Power Plant, Kammer Plant, Mitchell Plant, Muskingum, (Ohio Power Co); Northeastern Station, Riverside Power Plant, (Public Service Electric Power Co), Flint Creek, Pirkey and Welsh, (Southwestern Electric Power Co).