Water monitoring, Montour Preserve transfer highlight Talen Energy-Riverkeeper agreement
The owners of the Montour Power Plant signed a settlement agreement with a clean water organization today that pledges to close a coal ash waste disposal site and donate a 165-acre lake, 640-acre nature preserve and $1.2 million to conservation efforts.
Talen Energy signed the agreement with the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, represented by attorneys at the Environmental Integrity Project, to address reported pollution from an ash dump adjacent to the company’s 49-year-old coal-fired power plant, located an hour north of Harrisburg.
Mary Greene, Deputy Director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said: “It’s always better to work out settlements like this than to go to court over pollution issues. This agreement will help protect the community’s health and local waterways by requiring additional monitoring to evaluate the impact of coal ash contaminants on groundwater and surface waters.”
Talen, based in Texas and Allentown, Pa., announced to the press on November 10 that it would switch from coal to a cleaner-burning fuel, likely natural gas, at the 1,500-megawatt Montour Power Plant in Washingtonville, Pa., and partner with another company to build a 1,000-acre solar farm nearby.
The settlement agreement the company signed yesterday with the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association commits Talen to:
Since the Montour power plant’s construction nearly a half century ago, the power company (and its predecessors) have pumped water from the Middle Susquehanna River into Lake Chillisquaque, which was formed through the construction of a dam.
About 200 bird species have been observed on or near Lake Chillisquaque, which has been described as a mecca for migrating birds, including ducks, geese, swans and other species.
The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association is a nonprofit organization (501c3) committed to protecting and promoting the water-based resources within an 11,000-square-mile, 25-county watershed that feeds into the North and West branches of the Susquehanna River in central, northcentral and northeast Pennsylvania.
The Environmental Integrity Project is a 19-year-old nonprofit organization, based in Washington D.C., dedicated to enforcing environmental laws and strengthening policies to protect public health and the environment.
Comments, questions or other feedback can be emailed directly to the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association at email@example.com or you can call 570-768-6300.
Thomas Richard Rippon
3/2/2021 08:46:59 am
JOHN: as a PA Master Naturalist, I was on a volunteer special work group in recent years that tried to "save" the Preserve, so this result is fantastic, if I understand it correctly. I can't wait to hear more details as to how this "went down" and the implications for perpetuity. THOM RIPPON
3/3/2021 11:16:09 am
Thanks, Mr. Rippon. We are excited about taking the next steps to monitor and protect water quality while advancing the preserve toward a smooth transition. I'd love to chat if you have time for a phone call in the near future.
Marcy Trembath Pitkin
3/3/2021 10:51:23 am
Where does the middle river start and stop?
3/3/2021 11:17:07 am
Marcy, We cover the Susquehanna from just below Selinsgrove where the Penns Creek enters the river up through both the north and west branches.
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John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.