NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Controversial Report Predicts Thousands Of Deaths From Power Plant Pollution

April 18, 2002

A study by the consulting firm Abt Associates, Inc. sponsored by the Rockefeller Family Fund is drawing criticism. At issue is its prediction that 80 power plants owned by eight utilities will cause nearly 6,000 premature deaths in the year 2007.

Officials of the Edison Electric Institute took issue with the projection, saying "we have strong suspicions that this work is not credible."

  • The report uses epidemiological studies to project the number of pollution-related deaths in 2007 -- after some important new clean air regulations will have taken effect and will have presumably reduced the level of emissions.
  • The analysis estimates that in addition to the deaths, pollution from the eight utilities will lead to 140,000 asthma attacks and 14,000 cases of acute bronchitis by 2007.

This is the latest claim in the ongoing public debate over clean air regulations under review by the Bush administration. The administration wants to eliminate some programs and replace them with a strategy called Clear Skies; they say it will reduce pollutants more than current programs. Environmentalists strongly dispute that claim.

Souce: Katharine Q. Seelye, "Study Sees 6,000 Deaths from Power Plants," New York Times, April 18, 2002; Abt Associates, Inc., "Particulate-Related Health Impacts of Eight Electric Utility Systems," April 2002, Rockefeller Family Fund.


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