WIND POWER DISPLACES TOXIC EMISSIONS AND POLLUTION FROM FOSSIL-FIRED POWER PLANTS
As background, gas, oil and/or coal-fired power plants emit the following harmful pollutants:
● Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) combine with other pollutants to form ground-level ozone, one of the most noxious parts of smog and acid rain. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a deep lung irritant and can cause lung damage.
● Sulphur Oxides (SOx) contribute to the yellow haze over many major cities in the U.S.; it is a major factor in causing acid-rain damage to our lakes, rivers, and forests. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a reactive, soluble gas that is rapidly absorbed by the respiratory tract, causing lung disease and breathing problems.
● Particulate Matter (PM) is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets, composed of many different chemical compounds, including acids, organic chemicals, metals, and dust particles, and also forms from other pollutants, such as NOx, SOx, and acid rain. The larger-diameter PM can be seen as dust, soot, or smoke exiting a smoke stack. Smaller PM can only be detected using an electron microscope. The smaller PM particles that are emitted from power plants pose the greatest health problems because they can lodge deep into your lungs and then move into your bloodstream. Exposure to PM has been associated with a broad range of health effects, including mortality, cancer, asthma, respiratory infections, and heart attacks.
● Carbon Dioxide (CO2) causes global warming and climate change, which disrupts ecosystems and causes unstable and dangerous weather patterns. 2005 was the hottest year on record and 2009 was the second hottest year on record, according to NASA. The U.S. EPA reports that global warming is expected to raise the temperature in California by 5º over the next century. As the temperature increases, heat-related deaths increase, smog increases, respiratory illnesses increase, spread of infectious diseases increase, serious droughts increase, certain species go extinct, crop losses increase, subsurface ocean temperatures become warmer, hurricanes become stronger, icecaps and glaciers melt, sea levels rise causing flooding and billions of dollars of damage to beaches and property along the California coasts, California forests decline, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains snowpack is expected to decrease by 30% to 70%, thereby decreasing a primary source of water and electricity, all with a warmer, drier climate.
● Mercury pollution from fossil-fired power plants is the largest source of mercury pollution in the U.S., releasing an esimated 104,000 pounds of the toxin annually into the atmosphere, with the mercury then making its way into lakes and streams and accumulating in fish and wildlife and humans who consume them. Mercury, even tiny amounts, can have a devastating impact on the human nervous system, especially for children. Exposure to mercury can cause birth defects, brain and kidney damage, and even death. "Don't Eat the Fish" warnings now occur at thousands of U.S. lakes and streams, alerting people that eating fish from those bodies of water could result in neurological damage from the contamination of fish with toxic mercury. California has advised against consuming fish caught in 40 miles of its rivers and 64,024 acres of its lakes due to mercury contamination.