Riverstone Holdings’ experience with coal plants unclear, record of violations in coal mining
Baltimore, MD–(ENEWSPF)–August 10, 2012. Last night Exelon announced the sale of three coal plants in the Baltimore area to Riverstone Holdings LLC, a private-equity firm whose subsidiary Penn Virginia Resource Partner (NYSE: PVR) was recently sued for violations of the Clean Water Act at 14 locations on 7 former surface mining sites in southwestern Virginia. Now the company will run another subsidiary operating the Crane, Wagner and Brandon Shores coal plants in Baltimore.
“Aside from their apparent mismanagement of land used for surfacing mining operations in Virginia, it is unclear what experience Riverstone Holdings has that qualifies them to come to Baltimore and operate these toxic facilities in people’s backyard,” said Mark Kresowik, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in the East.
In an effort to blend in, Riverstone created a new subsidiary called Raven Power to operate the plants, although it’s not apparent that this subsidiary has any other purpose than attempting to make this out-of-state company appear to have local resonance.
“It will take more than a clever new name for a subsidiary company to demonstrate that Riverstone cares about Baltimore. Our kids are sick. Our hospitals see more patients suffering from breathing and heart conditions from poor air quality than they should, and pollution from the Crane and Wagner coal plants is responsible,” said Christine Hill, Conservation Representative for the Maryland Sierra Club.
“The only way to truly be a good new neighbor in Baltimore is to retire these dirty, outdated plants, ensure a responsible transition for the workers over the next several years and invest instead in clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power that will mean cleaner air and good-paying jobs in the Baltimore area.”
The Sierra Club is renewing efforts to retire both the Crane and Wagner plants and clean up Baltimore’s air by transitioning Maryland beyond coal to clean energy sources like wind, solar and energy efficiency that have the potential to create thousands of new jobs and mean cleaner, healthier air for the region.
Both Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties, where the plants are located, have failing air quality with dangerous levels of both soot and smog which can lead to respiratory illness, heart disease, strokes, diminished lung function and even premature death.
Both the Crane and Wagner plants lack modern pollution safeguards for dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution making them a hazard for local communities. Upgrading the plants would be costly and is one of the main reasons why they were sold for less than half of what they were initially valued at.
“We hope Riverstone will prove to be a good neighbor here in Baltimore by caring for the health and safety of our families. It’s time to retire these aging, dirty coal plants and begin the work of cleaning up our air and transitioning Baltimore to a clean, healthy and prosperous energy economy that’s built to last,” said Hill.