Fall River has it's problems. Our schools are underperforming. We're fighting a planned Liquid Natural Gas Facility. We have a landfill that is much too close to our drinking water. The list goes on and on.
Somewhere near the top of that list has got to be the Brayton Point Power Plant in Somerset. For those not familiar with the geography, Somerset is directly across the Taunton River and sitting there on its peninsula, hulking on the skyline is Brayton Point.
Brayton Point is a coal-burning power plant, one of Massachusetts 'filthy five'. It is in fact the filthiest of the 'filthy five'. The problem is two fold. On the one hand Brayton Point releases sulfur, nitrogen, toxic and carcinogenic soot, and toxic metals into the air, and on the other is intakes about 900 MILLION gallons of water for cooling purposes. This water, after cooling the generators, is then pumped back into the bay at much higher temperatures. As a result fish that once thrived in the Mount Hope bay are almost non-existent. The environmental Protection Agency has been fighting a decade long battle to drastically limit the amount of water the power plant can draw from the bay. Brayton Point has challenged the EPA's authority to force this limit. But on Wednesday a court ruled in favor of the EPA.
Barring an appeal Brayton Point would have to build a closed cycle cooling system, which according to the Herald News would cost between 68 and 100 million dollars. The power plant has already started construction on a 230 million dollar project to reduce harmful gas emissions and is looking for final approval for a system that would help reduce sulfur dioxide emissions and atmospheric mercury emissions.