Michiganders pay an extra $1.5 billion per year in healthcare costs due to the harmful effects of aging coal-fired power plants across the state, according to a new report released by the Michigan Environmental Council.
The report looks at the health issues faced by the nine oldest power plants in the state, including the JH Campbell plant in West Olive and the BC Cobb plant on Muskegon Lake.
The report shows that families living near these coal plants spend an average of $500 per year due to doctor and hospital visits from asthma, heart problems, and respiratory ailments.
“Keeping these plants limping along is expensive – both in the cost of increasing electricity rates and in health insurance premiums, copays and other expenses related to the damage they do,” said MEC President Chris Kolb in a press release.
That is hard-earned money that families could instead spend elsewhere, thus giving our economy a much-needed shot in the arm. Instead, these health effects are hurting Michiganders’ health and wallets.
These costs are in addition to the human costs of Michigan’s aging power plants. Michigan suffers 180 premature deaths, 68,000 asthma attacks, and 233 hospital visits attributable to these coal-fired power plants.
What can we do about the harm done to our economy and our health? The answer lies in replacing these aging plants with renewable sources of power, which have been shown to be both economically and ecologically better than nonrenewable sources.
(Note: West Michigan Environmental Action Council is a member of MEC.)