Sierra Club Urges Retirement of Western Ky. Coal Plant

Aug 30, 2013


An environmental group is launching an aggressive campaign urging the retirement of the coal-burning Elmer Smith Power Plant in Owensboro.

The Sierra Club will have ads featured in both print and web versions of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, in addition to a door-to-door effort.

Sierra Club spokesman Thomas Pearce said the Owensboro Municipal Utility-owned plant is affecting the health of Daviess County residents, and too old.

“The Elmer Smith Plant is 49 years old,” Pearce said. “The average age of a coal plant is 48 years old. And we believe there are cheaper forms of energy right now. They could invest in renewables. They can retire that plant very easily and not cost rate-payers any more money.”

The Sierra Club claims Elmer Smith is partly responsible for a 13 percent asthma rate among Daviess County residents.

OMU spokeswoman Sonya Dixon said the company was unaware of the Sierra Club’s campaign, but did say a plan was in place to transition out of coal in the next 20 years.