Concern Over North Omaha Coal Power Plant

Curt Casper

OMAHA (KPTM) - There were over a thousand petitions handedover to the Omaha Public Power District Board on Thursday. The group wasconcerned about the harmful pollutants being pumped into air by the North Omahacoal-fired power plant.

The group led by the Sierra Club and others tell Fox 42 Newsthey want the 50-year-old power plant to be shut down. They sight a 2012 NAACPstudy which gave the plant a letter grade of "F", for its health threateningpollution. The study ranked the plant 17th out of 378 in the nation.

Krystal Craig used to live in North Omaha. Her son,10-year-old Adrian, has been dealing with asthma his entire life. She believeshis asthma was more of a problem in North Omaha.

"It seems to be much better out here, the air quality in LaVista really is better," she said.

And she wasn't alone. Dozens attended the OPPD board meetingon Thursday to voice their concern about the plant.

OPPD Spokesperson Tim Burke tells Fox 42 News the plantmeets all state and national regulations. He said OPPD is the leader inrenewable energy in the state. OPPD had a goal of using 10% of renewable energyby the year 2020. But they will be at 15% by 2014. He believes the plant hadlittle affect on asthma problems in North Omaha.

"Not all of them are from air omissions there are otherissues that occur, indoor air quality, smoking, a number of different relatedissues," Burke said.

OPPD is looking at options for the coal-fueled plant,including shutting it down. Though he mentioned it could come at a cost ofenergy prices in the area.

Even though Craig no longer lives in North Omaha she hopesother children don't have to suffer like her son.

"I don't want people to have to pick up and move so theirchildren can be able to breathe," she said.

For an entire look at the NAACP study click on thislink.