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Study Links Power Plant Fish Kills to Economic Damages in Northwest Ohio

June 3, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Fishers, boaters, residents and environmental groups are releasing a new study outlining the economic effects of the massive fish kills caused by the Bay Shore power plant near Toledo. The coal plant's water cooling intake system kills billions of fish each year, according to studies.

Sandy Bihn, executive director of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association, says First Energy should be held to standards just as fishers on Lake Erie are.

"You can only catch so many walleye and so many perch at certain times of certain sizes, etc. This plant has no rules; they can kill as many fish as they want each and every day and there are no consequences."

The Sierra Club is among the organizations supporting the study and asking the EPA to take action. Spokesman Matt Trokan says there needs to be accountability.

"Just as BP must pay for the damages it has caused in the Gulf, First Energy must pay for the 30 million dollars in damages it causes every year."

According to the report by the Gentner Consulting Group, the fish kills are causing $30 million in economic damages to northwest Ohio each year. The report suggests installing cooling towers to stop the problem, such as those at Davis Besse and Enrico Fermi. First Energy says it complies with all applicable rules and argues the reported number of fish killed is estimated too high. The company considers cooling towers an option, but believes the estimated cost of $97 million would cause rates to increase up to six percent. According to the Ohio EPA, however, new cooling towers could reduce the kills by 90 percent.

The study is available at www.westernlakeerie.org/Bayhsore_economic_s_final_05_2010.pdf.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH