Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Window closing for nice riverfront parks?

My former job kept me in Ironton, Ohio, for nearly the entire decade of the 1980s. In that time, I saw the city cope with the decline of the heavy manufacturing jobs that once defined Ironton and other towns along  my home part of the Ohio River. And Ironton city government has has financial problems all through those times.

Now, Ironton wants to upgrade its river front park -- basically an expanse of grass, a parking area and a boat ramp in bad need of repair -- to something like what other cities in the area have. But it may be too late, considering how state government is cutting back and there's a chance the federal government might be, too.

At the place I work now, we'll have an article this week on proposed renovations of the riverfront park at Huntington, W.Va. It was the first of its type along through here and serves as the model of what other cities want or now have. And I'll have some thoughts on it after the article appears in the paper.

One more on power plants

Regarding the previous couple of posts on smokestack emissions at coal-burning power plants, I dug up a piece I wrote at work last month about the EPA's proposed rules. The full article is here, but following is the important part:

The regional haze program has been in effect for several years. States were required to submit proposals to the EPA outlining their plans for reducing emissions of air pollutants that impair visibility. State implementation plans were due in December 2007.

The public comment period for the proposed HAPs rule ends July 5. The rule would reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants, or HAPs, from new and existing coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units. The rule addresses metals (including mercury), acid gases, organics and dioxin/furans.

The public comment period on new clean water standards ends July 19. The rule seeks to lower the number of fish killed in water-cooling systems at power plants.

The final rule on the EPA's proposed clean air transport rule is due in July. It would reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by 71 percent from 2005 levels by 2014 and nitrogen dioxide emissions by 52 percent from 2005 levels to 2012.

The final rule deals with coal combustion residuals, commonly known as fly ash, bottom ash and boiler slag. The rule would require liners at existing surface impoundments and provide incentives to close those impoundments. It also establishes dam safety requirements to address the structural integrity of surface impoundments. The public comment period ended in November 2010. A final rule is expected in mid-2012, with compliance required between 2018 and 2021.