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Chants of a different sort greet U.S. Rep. Omar upon her return home to Minnesota. Also on our Friday rundown: A new report says gunshot survivors need more outreach, support. Plus, sharing climate-change perspectives in Charlotte.

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Report: Coal Power is Cleaning Up Its Act

September 13, 2010

CASPER, Wyo. - The coal industry is cleaning up its act when it comes to air pollution, according to a new report from the Clean Air Task Force that outlines connections between coal-fired power plant emissions and premature deaths. In fact, the number of yearly deaths has been cut almost in half since the same report in 2004, and much of the coal burned in those plants comes from Wyoming.

Report co-author Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Clean Air Task Force, explains that new laws and rules and enforcement of Clean Air Act provisions have worked to protect public health.

"Power plant sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide have been cut nearly in half due to the installation of 130 sulfur scrubbers, and other controls, in the last five years."

The report predicts coal plant air pollution will be connected to about 13,000 deaths this year because of heart and respiratory system harm.

Schneider's report calls for more regulation of the industry while being mindful of keeping cost increases to consumers low, and he points to another benefit beyond health.

"Pollution control technologies require skills, labor and materials. The installation of just one scrubber can require 100 jobs for two years - adding green jobs to the nation's economy."

The coal industry has often warned that pollution controls will lead to job losses and higher costs for consumers, but Schneider says the report found neither to be true.

The full report is at The Clean Air Task Force is a nonprofit public health and environmental advocacy group.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY