Spotlight on TransAlta Coal Plant

More SlideshowsThe TransAlta coal-fired power plant is Washington State's sole remaining coal plant—and its largest single source of air pollution. The coal plant produces large amounts of global warming pollution, fills waters with mercury, and obscures national parks and wilderness areas—including the majestic Mt. Rainier—with haze. In 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed legislation which will phase-out the massive 1,400 megawatt TransAlta plant between 2020 and 2025. Learn about Earthjustice's work in cleaning up Washington State's biggest polluter.

The TransAlta coal-fired power plant is located just outside of Centralia, WA. The plant is the state's largest single source of air pollution—and not just of one kind.

In addition to being Washington's largest emitter of global warming pollution, the TransAlta plant pollutes Puget Sound and high mountain lakes with mercury and also releases nitrogen oxides, which create haze in nearby national parks and wilderness areas, even obscuring the visibility of the majestic Mount Rainier.

Photo: Earthjustice

TransAlta is a Canadian-owned company.

The people of Washington State are paying a big price for the continued operation of this coal plant. That's why Earthjustice is taking action.

Earthjustice, working with the Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Earth Ministry, is advocating for the conversion of the plant to cleaner fuels such as natural gas or renewable fuels by 2015.

Photo: Earthjustice

Smokestacks at the TransAlta coal-fired power plant.

But up until the point of conversion, the TransAlta plant will continue to fill Washington's air and water with dangerous pollutants from burning coal. So we're using our legal expertise to compel TransAlta to follow the law by cutting down on the plant's out-of-control pollution in the short term and to demonstrate that a timely conversion to cleaner energy sources is the better business choice.

Photo: Earthjustice

Many local residents don't realize that the nearby "steam plant" is a coal-fired power plant operated by TransAlta.

Coal pollutants affect all major body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.

Photo: Earthjustice

Concerned Washington moms, the 'Summit Moms,' ascended Mt. Rainier during the weekend of July 16–18, 2010 to deliver an important message to Gov. Gregoire about TransAlta.

WA Gov. Chris Gregoire is negotiating deals with TransAlta to wait until 2025 to transition the Canadian-owned facility off coal and to not require new pollutant controls in the meantime.

Photo: Climb Against Coal

Summit team with banner at Camp Schurman. Counter-clockwise from top left: Vashon Island mothers Jen Williams, Genevieve Raymond and Katie Wolny, and supporter Duskin Drum.

Mt. Rainier is an iconic presence on the horizon in the greater-Seattle area, but is often obscured in haze due to pollution from TransAlta and other sources.

Photo: Climb Against Coal

Artwork depicting a better, environmentally safe future made by the climbers' children is hung between tents at Base Camp.

Photo: Climb Against Coal

An additional banner was laid out in Mt. Rainier's Glacier Basin.

Families and friends of the "Summit Moms" hiked in four miles with 12,000 square feet of landscape cloth to deploy their message, while waiting for the climbers to return.

Photo: Climb Against Coal

Washington State has an obligation to protect its citizens and environment, and residents have a right to be involved in any deal that impacts their health or their environment.

The transition to a cleaner energy system across the state can begin as soon as roadblocks to that progress are either cleaned up or removed. TransAlta is first on the list.

Photo: Climb Against Coal

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