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Sierra Club: Harrison County Coal Plant Among The Nation’s Deadliest

The Harrison Power Station, with a white plume of exhaust coming from a tall stack next to two large concrete cooling towers with a blue sky in the background and yellow flowers in the foreground.
The Mon Power Harrison Power Station.

This story was updated with a statement from FirstEnergy.

A West Virginia power plant was identified by the Sierra Club as one of the nation’s deadliest.

According to a Sierra Club report, Mon Power’s Harrison Power Station in Harrison County is one of the 17 deadliest in the country, contributing to 122 premature deaths a year because of particulate matter.

The plant produces 1,984 megawatts of electricity. Its two units became operational in 1973 and 1974. According to Mon Power, Harrison is equipped with scrubbers that remove 98 percent of sulfur dioxide. The Sierra Club says particulate matter, or soot, can travel hundreds of miles. 

West Virginia coal plants contribute to 335 deaths a year nationwide, according to the report, but just 20 in West Virginia. 

The Sierra Club’s report identifies Mon Power parent FirstEnergy and Appalachian Power parent AEP as two of the biggest polluters from power plants, contributing to 181 and 129 premature deaths a year, respectively.

In a statement, FirstEnergy said the Harrison plant is equipped with the best available technology to control emissions and complies with all its permits.