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Old news but good news, just regurgitated by Fox for more of it's climate denying, grievance driven reporting masquerading as real news.    SWEPCO and other power companies are well aware of the liability connected to coal ash.  SWEPCO is replacing all it's coal fired capacity over the coming years and replacing it with renewables and combined cycle natural gas plants.  Here is the official SWEPCO release from 2020.

SWEPCO to end coal operations at two plants, upgrade a third

November 5, 2020

SHREVEPORT, La., Nov. 5, 2020 – Southwestern Electric Power Co.’s (SWEPCO) compliance plans for two recently revised environmental regulations include retiring the H.W. Pirkey Power Plant in Hallsville, Texas, in 2023 and ceasing coal operations at the Welsh Power Plant at Pittsburg, Texas, in 2028. 

            SWEPCO, an American Electric Power company (Nasdaq: AEP), will file its compliance plans this month for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule. The rule applies to the handling and storage of coal ash at each facility. SWEPCO owns 580 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity at Pirkey and 1,053 MW at Welsh.

            Flint Creek Power Plant in Gentry, Ark., will continue operations with installation of a dry bottom ash handling system and other facilities that meet the CCR and Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) requirements in 2023. The existing ash pond at this site will be closed and the ash will be sold for beneficial reuse or moved to the plant’s regulated onsite landfill. SWEPCO owns 258 MW of the plant capacity.

The John W. Turk Jr. Power Plant (477 MW) in Fulton, Ark., currently meets CCR and ELG standards.

 “Our Pirkey and Welsh employees have provided decades of safe and reliable service to SWEPCO customers, which will continue until the transition is complete,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “We are committed to working with our employees, local leaders and our communities in East Texas to help them manage these transitions,” Smoak said.

SWEPCO will discuss transition options with affected employees, which include severance, educational and retraining resources, and other potential job opportunities at SWEPCO and AEP.

“In making these difficult decisions, we have worked to balance the remaining life and economic viability of each of our coal-fueled generating units with other options for delivering power, including renewable energy and natural gas, in a resource mix that benefits our customers and the environment,” Smoak said.

The analysis includes the level of investment necessary to comply with the recently revised EPA rules, each plant's remaining operating life, and potential future compliance costs.

SWEPCO will continue to evaluate options for the Welsh Plant, which will cease coal operations in 2028.


Yes, if you'll notice the date on the original announcement, it was 2 days after the election.  They were already sucking up to Joe and lining up for subsidies.  They will also tell you behind the scenes now that it was a mistake.  There was a meeting with AEP officials about a year ago and the official was asked about the cost of the power to replace the Pirkey power.  The AEP official said not to worry, all of the experts assured him that Nat gas would be $3.00 by the end of 2022. 

As for you, it's easy to sit behind that computer and spout your woke BS about like the executive from AEP who wears the rainbow socks!.  What I would like to see you do is walk up to one of those hard working guys in the plant or the mine and tell him face to face it's good news that he's losing his job!!!   

More quotes from Fox News?  Here are the facts about coal ash.  Corporate managers and their stockholders and their financial advisers are fully aware of the dangers of coal ash and the extreme liability associated with it.  They have been moving away from coal fired generation for decades.  If government regulations help hurry along the end of the last of the coal fired plants, it is good for everyone including the hard working guys in the plant.

Coal ash, also known as coal combustion residuals (CCRs), is the mineral residue that remains from burning coal. Exposure to coal ash and to the toxic substances it contains may pose a health risk to workers in coal-fired power plants and residents living near coal ash disposal sites.

Occupational health concerns

Coal ash contains many toxic substances that may affect human health, if people are exposed to them above a certain concentration in the form of particulate matter. So it is necessary to avoid situations in which employees working in coal-fired power plants or public members living close to coal ash landfills will be exposed to high coal ash dust concentrations.[4] Coal ash dust health effects can be considered as a particular case of exposure to particulate matter (particle pollution). Accordingly the health risk of the smallest coal ash particles (respirable particles) has to be evaluated, since they can enter into the lungs.[4] In order to evaluate this risk, levels of exposure of workers or members of the public to particulate matter are compared with "safe threshold levels". Regarding the health of workers, the ACGIH[clarification needed] publishes annually a booklet with tables presenting threshold level values (TLV's) - maximal concentrations allowed - for a wide range of substances and materials. Particles of coal ash belong to a category called "PNOS - Particles Not Otherwise Specified". For this category, otherwise known as "nuisance dust", the TLV value is 3 mg/m3 for respirable particles (smaller than 10 micrometers). [8]

Health effects of toxic constituents found in coal ash

Lead: The direct exposure to lead can cause major damage to the nervous system.[5] Lead exposure can lead to kidney disease, hearing impairment, high blood pressure, delays in development, swelling of the brain, hemoglobin damage, and male reproductive problems.[9][10] Both low levels and high levels of lead exposure can cause harm to the human body.[9]

Cadmium: The direct exposure to high levels of cadmium is hazardous to the health.[5] More specifically, the lungs directly absorb cadmium into the bloodstream.[9] When humans are exposed to cadmium over a long period of time, kidney disease and lung disease can occur.[5][9] In addition, cadmium exposure can be associated with hypertension.[5] Lastly, chronic exposure of cadmium can cause bone weakness which increases the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.[5]

Chromium: The direct exposure to chromium (VI) is hazardous to health. High levels of chromium (VI) in drinking water can cause ulcers in the small intestine and stomach when ingested. Lastly, skin ulcers can also occur when the exposure to chromium (VI) occurs through the skin.

Arsenic: When high amounts of arsenic is inhaled or ingested through coal ash waste, diseases such as bladder cancer, skin cancer, kidney cancer and lung cancer can develop.[5][11] Ultimately, exposure of arsenic over a long period of time can cause mortality.[5] Furthermore, low levels of arsenic exposure can cause irregular heartbeats, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, peripheral neuropathy and vision impairment.[9][5]

Mercury: Chronic exposure of mercury from coal ash can cause harm to the nervous system.[5] When mercury is inhaled or ingested various health effects can occur such as vision impairment, seizures, numbness, memory loss and sleeplessness.[12][13]

Boron: When coal ash dust is inhaled, the exposure of boron can cause discomfort in the throat, nose and eye.[5] Moreover, when coal ash waste is ingested, boron exposure can be associated with kidney, liver, brain, and intestine impairment.[5]

Molybdenum: When molybdenum is inhaled from coal ash dust, discomfort of the nose, throat, skin and eye can occur.[14] As a result, short-term molybdenum exposure can cause an increase of wheezing and coughing.[14] Furthermore, chronic exposure of molybdenum can cause loss of appetite, tiredness, headaches and muscle soreness.[5][14]

Thallium: The exposure of thallium in coal ash dust can cause peripheral neuropathy when inhaled.[5] Furthermore, when coal ash is ingested, thallium exposure can cause diarrhea and vomiting.[5] In addition, thallium exposure is also associated with heart, liver, lung and kidney complications.[5]

Silica: When silica is inhaled from coal ash dust, fetal lung disease or silicosis can develop.[4] Furthermore, chronic exposure of silica can cause lung cancer.[4] In addition, exposure to silica over a period of time can cause loss of appetite, poor oxygen circulation, breathing complications and fever.[4]

You're the master of cut and paste.  You don't even have any idea what most of those chemicals are but as long as it's on one of your left wing websites, it has to be true!!  

BTW, DA, you left off selenium!!!

I can give you the address of the power plant and the mine if you would like to show up and tell the people who work there what scumbags they are!! 

I like to inject a little factual information into our back and forth to help point out to members that you are so fixated on climate denial and right wing conspiracies that you always miss the really important points of any subject.  Thanks for adding selenium and making the point that you don't care about all the other toxic elements of CCRs nor the people who work around them.  And by the way, they're not scumbags and I hope they will get decent jobs that don't put their health at risk.

Sorry, but everything around you has harmful chemicals in it.  What about the terrible chemicals that are in the Lithium batteries in your Tesla?  Do you know where the lithium and other parts of the car comes from?  I'm sorry to inform you, and I know it's hard for libs to comprehend, but here are the facts.  

Everything you eat, wear, sleep on or in or drive comes from something that got here by 1 of 2 ways.  It was either grown, or mined.  Whether this mining was by drilling or other means, it all gets here by one of those 2 ways.  You and the people you support are against both!!  

Yes, we know we must follow your science and facts.  Just as we did with Covid.  If we listened to the science there, we would still all be locked up inside our homes and destroying our children's chances at a decent education!!

Do not cringe when you eat the turkey on Thursday because it gave off CO2 when it was alive.  You'll probably only have brocoli and rice.  Don't cringe and lose sleep over how much planet destroying fertilizer went into growing it.

I've read this forum for at least 12 years and I've never seen you not have the answer to everything about anything, so scroll on down and answer Steve's question about carbon capture!!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!

Get him Lmao!

I lived in that area for a number of years, and while I'm sad to see that plant go, I don't think the long term impacts will be that great.  A few notes for you.  First off, SWEPCO is in the Southwest Power Pool, which functions differently than ERCOT.  I would expect little change in reliability from that move.  

The loss of jobs will suck, and a decrease in tax base will hurt the schools a little, but maybe not as much as depicted in the Fox article.  Hallsville is a "Robinhood" school that ultimately has had to pay into the state most years because its tax base was so large.  You'd have to be a Texas school finance expert to run the calculations, but I suspect most, if not all of the loss of revenue will be made up for by not sending money to the state.  

Now to what killed that power plant and the mine?  Two words, often the focus of discussion here:  "Natural gas".  Coal mines and power plants operate on long term economic planning, and leading up to 2020 (when the decision was made) low natural gas prices made investment in the plant and mine not economically prudent.  The plant opened in 1985, with something likely along the lines of a 30 year design life.  The mines in the area had been mining the shallower, easier to get coal for decades, the thickness of the coal seams decreased and depths to the seams increased .

The ELG and CCR rules cited in the 2020 article were promulgated under a Republican led EPA.  I'm not particularly a fan of the current administration, but this is a story about primarily economics. 


I have an informed opinion because I make it part of my daily business to be informed.  My clients pay me for that.  Those same clients have an interest in monetizing their mineral assets but do not accept being cheated by O&G companies nor do they stand for their land/air to be polluted.  

Any member who is curious about the trend in retiring coal fired electric generation can find plenty of facts by simply searching the internet.  Specifics are relevant for each instance where a company has decided to retire a coal fired plant.  Thanks to dbob for providing some he is familiar with in this particular instance.  They are the same as the reasons for retiring the Dolet Hills and Oxford lignite mines in DeSoto Parish.  The business reasons for the continuing retirement of coal fired plants are obvious and will continue to inform management decisions.

The bottom line for consumers and industry is, what are my costs?  It matters not one bit how their electricity is generated.  It matters the cost and reliability.  If the cost and reliability of electricity can be met with means other than fossil fuels, does it really matter to the majority of consumers?  Natural gas will remain more expensive then in the past until the Ukraine situation comes to a conclusion but the writing is on the wall.  The reasons for Europe to accelerate the transition to non-fossil fuels is obvious and the timeline to do so has been shortened significantly by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Europe needs our LNG now but will be much less dependent in a not too distant future.  All mineral owners should be familiar with the prospect of stranded reserves.

International Energy Agency|The Energy Mix

Emissions from coal are the central challenge for reaching climate goals


Coal is the single-largest source of carbon dioxide emissions from energy, and massive efforts are needed to quickly reduce these emissions to avoid severe climate change impacts. In a new special report – Coal in Net Zero Transitions – we lay out what is needed to reduce global coal emissions rapidly enough to meet international climate goals while supporting energy security and economic growth. 
The analysis in the report, which was launched on Energy Day during the COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt, shows that over 95% of global coal consumption is occurring in countries that have pledged to achieve net zero emissions. However, far from declining, global coal demand has been stable at near record highs for the past decade. If nothing is done, emissions from existing coal assets would, by themselves, push the increase in global temperatures beyond the 1.5°C limit laid out in the Paris climate accord.  
Every future pathway for the global energy sector that avoids severe impacts from climate change involves early and significant reductions in coal-related emissions. But according to the report, the transition away from coal is complicated by the relatively young age of coal power plants across much of the Asia Pacific region, the dependency of many regions on coal mining, as well as by market structures that often favour coal over cleaner alternatives. 
Along with super-charging the rollout of solar, wind and other clean alternatives to coal, extensive job training and development spending is needed to deal with the employment and economic fallout of closing coal mines and coal-fired power plants, the report highlights. 
Read the press release and the full report. You can also watch the video of the launch event where Executive Director Fatih Birol and lead authors Laura Cozzi and Tim Gould presented its key findings during COP27.



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