I today submitted comments on the proposed draft discharge permits for the Cheswick coal power plant, calling on the Department of Environmental Protection to take strong actions to protect our drinking water. These comments are based on some proposed language from the Sierra Club: https://sierra.secure.force.com/events/details…

DEP is holding a public hearing April 25th if you can attend, otherwise you can find out how to mail in your comments at : http://www.media.pa.gov/pages/DEP_details.aspx?newsid=975

The actual permit docs are at : http://www.dep.pa.gov/…/C…/Pages/Coal-Power-Plant-NPDES.aspx

While Cheswick is technically outside of my district, the environmental impacts of activities such as this hurt the entire region, including my district.

As always, I put a huge priority on protecting our health and environment and expanding renewable energy instead of old dirty power plants like the one in Cheswick. We don’t need to sacrifice our health and environment for jobs and energy.

###Full Text of My Comments submitted to PA DEP###

To whom it may concern:

I am greatly concerned about the pollution being discharged by the Cheswick Power Station in the Allegheny River, a source of drinking water for over half a million people in the Pittsburgh area. In fact, the power station is located very near the main water-intake for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority in Aspinwall. In 2016 the Cheswick Power Station was identified as discharging the fourth-highest amount of lead of any power plant in the nation.[1] The power plant also discharges arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and other known toxic compounds into our water supply.

I therefore call on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to update the draft permit to immediately protect the Allegheny River from coal pollution. Specifically, I support recommendations from organizations such as the Sierra Club that the draft permit should require compliance with federal effluent limitation guidelines as soon as possible, end a thermal variance from the previous permit term, require the installation of a closed-cycle cooling system, assess technology-based standards for dangerous pollutants discharged from the plant, and include interim compliance requirements for certain boron limits.

Water is required for life and must be protected. I again call on DEP to utilize all available standards to eliminate the toxic pollutants discharging from the Cheswick power plant.


Garret Wassermann

[1] Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/11/16, “Report flags Cheswick power plant for its lead discharges”, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2016/08/11/Report-details-lead-discharge-from-Cheswick-s-coal-fired-power-plant/stories/201608110192.