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Activists Claim Power Plant Costs Ohio Fishing Industry $30M Annually

Several nonprofit groups are claiming that FirstEnergy’s failure to upgrade its coal-fired Bay Shore power plant in Ohio with effective fish barriers has cost the region $30 million annually for years, reports The Blade.

As these nonprofit groups were releasing its report to quantify the annual loss of 60 million fish in dollars, the Ottawa County Municipal Court in Port Clinton issued a court order that put the value of smallmouth bass at $50 a fish in the state of Ohio, according to the article.

The figure is almost triple the $16.77 value placed on smallmouth bass in the report released by the activist and outdoor groups. The report listed values for fish species between 24 cents per fish for freshwater drum and carp to $20.38 per fish for walleye.

The Sierra Club of Ohio’s Nachy Kanfer said in the article that the state’s value of smallmouth bass is further evidence of FirstEnergy’s damage to the region’s fishing industry.

FirstEnergy spokesman Ellen Raines told the newspaper the utility has no interest in reading or debating the report. A FirstEnergy consultant puts the annual loss at 60 million fish — 46 million adults and 14 million juveniles.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will likely allow the utility to do a pilot study with barriers known as reverse louvers, which would cost the company about $500,000 to install, instead of requiring a cooling tower, which would cost about $100 million and save 95 percent of the fish and reduce the thermal impact of the plant’s outfall on Maumee Bay, according to the article.

In January, FirstEnergy asked the Ohio EPA to allow its Lake Shore Power Plant in Cleveland to exceed limits on mercury pollution in the lake set by more stringent federal regulations, which takes effect in November. Local businesses and environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, Ohio Environmental Council and EarthDay Coalition are opposed to the request.

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