Coal Burning Power Plants

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Three major coal burning steam power plants are located in the Black Warrior River watershed: Miller Steam Plant, Gorgas Steam Plant and Greene County Steam Plant.

Miller Steam Plant, on the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior, emitted more mercury in 2007 than any other coal-burning power plant in the country, according to EPA data compiled by the Environmental Integrity Project. Gorgas Steam Plant ranked 28th in this category (Total Mercury Pounds Emitted: 2007).

In the category of “Top 50 US Power Plant Mercury Emitters by Pounds per GWh: 2007” Greene County Steam Plant ranked 8th, Miller Steam Plant ranked 15th, and Gorgas Steam Plant ranked 19th.

EPA cites coal-burning power plants as the leading source of mercury air emissions, which end up in the tissue of fish people eat. A potent neurotoxin, mercury is especially dangerous to children and developing fetuses. Coal-burning power plants are also major emitters of air pollutants, including Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, and Nitrogen Oxide. GASP, a nonprofit advocating for cleaner air in Alabama, has a widget on their website that you can use to check the air quality in your zip code:

For more information about coal in the Black Warrior River watershed, click here.

coal-burning-MillerSteamPlant.LocustFork_SWAlabama Power’s Miller Steam Plant on the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. (Jefferson Co.)
Photo by Nelson Brooke. Flight provided by SouthWings.

coal-burning-GorgasSteamPlant.MulberryForkAlabama Power’s Gorgas Plant on the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. (Walker Co.)
Photo by Nelson Brooke.

coal-burning-GreeneCountySteamPlantAlabama Power’s Greene County Steam Plant on the Black Warrior River. (Greene Co.)
Photo by Nelson Brooke.

This map shows Alabama drinking water sources downstream from coal-fired power plants’ coal ash waste impoundments, which discharge tens of millions of gallons of polluted wastewater into Alabama’s water resources every day.

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