Laramie River Station

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{{#badges: Climate change |CoalSwarm}} Laramie River Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Basin Electric Power Cooperative near Wheatland, Wyoming.

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Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: Basin Electric Power Cooperative
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,710 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 570 MW (1971), 570 MW (1971), 570 MW (1972)
  • Location: 347 Grayrocks Rd., Wheatland, WY 82201
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.109018, -104.885866
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 15,248,626 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 11,539 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 19,781 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 650 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Laramie River Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[1] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[2]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Laramie River Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 18 $130,000,000
Heart attacks 27 $3,000,000
Asthma attacks 330 $1,700
Hospital admissions 13 $3,000
Chronic bronchitis 12 $5,200,000
Asthma ER visits 18 $7,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Coal waste Sites

Emissions Rankings

2011: Laramie fourth highest in U.S. toxic power plant emissions

A 2011 joint report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), EarthJustice, and the Sierra Club rated the top power plants for toxic power plant emissions. Some of the chemicals used to rank the states’ emission status included chromium, arsenic, lead, and mercury. In terms of sheer pounds of emissions of the four toxic heavy metals, Laramie ranked fourth highest in the nation.[3]

Laramie River ranked 56th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[4] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[5]

Laramie River Station ranked number 56 on the list, with 541,970 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[4]

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