Kahului power plant emissions pose health risk

Kudos for the excellent Environmental Protection Agency story “Isle MECO plants amid top 10 for release of toxins” (The Maui News, Jan. 18).

It is interesting to learn that Maui Electric Co.’s Kahului power plant emitted more than 190,000 pounds of toxic chemicals in 2011.

It is my understanding that this plant produces very little electricity, a tiny fraction of what the Maalaea plant produces with half the toxic emissions, but the ancient Kahului plant is allowed to burn very cheap and toxic fuel because it is very old and its emissions are grandfathered.

It is unfortunate that this dirty plant is in Maui’s densest population center, where the emissions affect the health of residents, students and workers of Central Maui on a daily basis.

Anyone who parks a car in Kahului or Wailuku on a regular basis will know about the corrosive effect of the soot produced by this plant. One can imagine the long-term effect on the lungs of children in the Central Maui schools, University of Hawaii Maui College, parks and playing fields.

Jonathan Starr