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Four of the Country’s Most Toxic Power Plants Are Owned by Dallas-based Luminant

Luminant CEO Mac McFarland

The largest source of power plant mercury emissions nationwide is owned by Dallas-based Luminant Generation, and three of the company’s other plants rank in the top 10, according to a report released today by the Environmental Integrity Project. The No. 1 polluter – Martin Lake Steam Electric Station & Lignite Mine in Rusk County – allegedly pumps out 1,501 pounds of mercury emissions each year. The other three Luminant-owned plants are located in Freestone, Titus, and Milam counties, respectively. A plant in Harrison County – but owned by Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power – also made the top 10.

“Nationwide, equipment has been installed over the years to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter,” said EIP attorney Ilan Levin, in a statement. “That has helped cut down on the release of mercury, toxic metals and acid gases from power plants over the last ten years. However, that progress is uneven, and the dirtiest plants continue to churn out thousands of pounds of toxins that can be hazardous to human health even in small concentrations. For example, emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants have actually increased in the last decade in the state of Texas.”

Luminant began 2013 with a new CEO, Mac McFarland. Emails have been sent to Luminant reps; we’ll update accordingly.

UPDATE: From Luminant spokeswoman Ashley Barrie, “Luminant stands by its strong track record of exemplary compliance in meeting or outperforming all state and federal environmental laws, rules and regulations. Our voluntary installation of activated carbon injection systems on all of our coal-fueled power plant units demonstrates our commitment to protect air quality and the environment well in advance of state or federal mandates. This equipment has resulted in the reduction of fleet-wide mercury emissions by more than 20 percent since 2005, despite the addition of 2,200 MW of coal-fueled units. In addition, we’ve continued to make investments including $300 million in emission control equipment across our fleet – $80 million at Martin Lake Power Plant — which will further reduce mercury and SO2.”