May 3, 2012 9:08 PM
TUCSON - A number of environmental and health groups rallied Thursday to demand Tucson Electric Power stop burning coal.
TEP currently has four turbines at the H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station on the south side of Tucson one of which is capable of burning coal. Although, the turbine is currently using natural gas, a report issued by the Clean Air Task Force claims that when coal is burned it kills. The report included that the Sundt plant causes four deaths a year in Pima County at the cost of $26 million and six heart attacks a year at the tune of $600,000.
350.org, one of the organizations present at today's rally, is willing to work with TEP to come up with a solution.
Vincent Pawlowski, a volunteer with 350.org, says, "I have had several attempts to reach TEP by e-mail and telephone and we've gotten the run around."
We were able to catch up with TEP's spokesman Joseph Barrios who explains, "We always follow the environmental requirements that are placed on our facilities."
Barrios says, "We are taking great strides to expand our use of renewable energy... We also think it's important to have some diversity in how we generate power and that speaks to reliability for our customers."
However many sources TEP uses to generate power, groups like 350.org won't be happy until TEP permanently stops burning coal.