The Beacon

Blog Tags: Thermoelectric Power

Victory for Polluted Chilean Community

© Claudia Pool

We have some good news from Chile -- Oceana has been fighting against the approval of a thermoelectric plant, Punta Alcalde, and we are excited to announce that the plant’s permit was denied this week.

The plant was to be built in Huasco, which is already suffering from severe air pollution from four coal-powered thermoelectric power plants and an iron plant operating nearby.

Despite the already grim situation in Huasco, Punta Alcalde did not comply with the government requirements needed to ensure that the plant would not worsen the air quality of the area.

In Huasco and other industrial communities in Chile, these plants have been pumping warm water and pollutants into the oceans, destroying the local ecosystems and raising mercury levels in fish. On land, toxic clouds and heavy-metal contamination are sickening the local populations. A video from another such town, Ventanas, shows the human toll: the fishing industry there is devastated and people are dying with heavy metal contaminants in their bodies.

Oceana has been campaigning for better pollution standards in Chile and working to prevent the construction of new coal-powered thermonuclear plants. Give today to support our work to protect Chile’s people and marine life from severe pollution.

Congratulations to our team in Chile for this significant step forward for the people and marine life of Huasco!

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Victory! 2nd Coal-Fired Power Plant Defeated in Chile

sea lions in chile

Sea lions in the waters off northern Chile. © Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

For the second time in less than a year, Oceana has helped to defeat a coal-fired power plant on the coast of northern Chile. The CAP company announced last week that it was withdrawing its plans to construct the Cruz Grande thermoelectric power plant.

Cruz Grande was slated to be a 300-megawatt thermoelectric power plant in the region of La Higuera in Northern Chile, a few miles from the Choros-Damas and Chañaral island marine reserves, and near the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve, which is home to the world’s largest population of Humboldt penguins. The region also hosts communities of bottlenose dolphins, marine otters and many marine birds and mammals, including blue whales.

These creatures and habitats were at risk from the plant’s emissions, which would have arrived quickly to the reserves. The plant would have used the area’s seawater to cool the plant, discharging it back into the ocean at higher temperatures. Oil spills from ships carrying coal to the plants would seep there in a few hours, and the local currents would retain the pollution within the area. Plus, mercury emissions from the plants would contaminate fish and mollusks like the Chilean abalone, damaging a crucial local industry.

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