Progress at Salem Harbor Plant?

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Wed, 10/03/2007 - 16:21

It is more difficult to find out about progress in Salem, than the impact of the plant in Columbia. The spokesperson for Dominion, the owner of the Salem Harbor Plant, has not responded to my repeated queries.

In my efforts to research and followup on the impact of the Salem Harbor Plant on the community and the environment, I find reports on the distant impact as far away as Columbia, where coal for the plant is mined. Aviva Chomsky has a story and photographs (on exhibit at Salem Old Town Hall) dealing with the impact of coal mining operations on people in Columbia.

What is the status of cleanup and pollution control at the Salem Harbor Plant? It is hard to find out any details on the current status. An agreement was reached in 2005, according to HealthLink, to control and reduce emissions from the power plant, one of the worst polluters in the state. HealthLink is a citizens group concerned with public health and the environment. Parties to the agreement were HealthLink and its environmental colleagues, the State of Massachusetts, the City of Salem, IBEW Local 326, and Dominion Energy, the owners of the plant.

According to the Boston Globe, although a spokesman for Dominion Energy, the owner of the Salem Harbor Plant claims compliance with state and federal controls, total emissions remain high. The Conservation Law Foundation is critical of efforts to control emissions at the Salem plant.

We have made repeated efforts to contact Dominion in order to get detailed information about their progress towards improving polution and their compliance with existing agreements, as well as their participation in Salem programs of social welfare, but we have not received any substantive response. My query has twice (initially on 24 June 2007) been sent to Jim Norvelle, a spokesperson for Dominion.

HealthLink does receive quarterly compliance reports on the 2005 agreement. HealthLink, while not publishing details on current pollution levels or progress measures, sees a necessity for the plant to take new actions to install additional equipment to continue compliance starting in 2010 or 2011.

Related stories Salem's Global Warming Seeing History and the Environment in Salem, MA 2007 Update on Power Plant Cleanup The dirty story behind local energy by Aviva Chomsky. Story on impact of mining operations in Columbia.
Exhibit: Cotton, Coal & Communidad: Global Crossroads in a Changing Economy; Through the end of October 2007. Old Town Hall, Salem