The dirt on power plants

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Old power plants exempt from Clean Air Act regulations pose a growing threat to Florida, according to a report released this week by the Florida Clean Power Coalition. The organization of several environmental groups says Tampa Bay is particularly threatened: 70 percent of the air pollution settling on the bay comes from stationary sources like electric power plants. The air pollution depletes oxygen in the water, which leads to fish kills.

A loophole in the Clean Air Act allows plants built before the early '80s to pollute 10 times as much as newer ones. "The loophole that has long outlived its usefulness must be closed and old plants brought up to modern standards," says Joseph Siry, a Rollins College environmental-science professor. The coalition also wants more government money invested in renewable energy technology, like solar power.

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