State Line plantPhoto: A Chicago SojournAn especially filthy coal-fired power plant in northwest Indiana will belch its last cloud of soot, carbon, mercury, and other pollutants sometime between 2014 and 2017, Gitte Laasby of the Post-Tribune reports.

The State Line power plant in Hammond, Ind., will shut down rather than install new scrubbers when new EPA sulfur dioxide protections come online, its owner, Dominion Resources announced Friday.

Two points of interest:

1. The decision is driven not by carbon-dioxide regulation but by old-fashioned toxics regulation from the Clean Air Act. We’ll hear more announcements like this from the electricity industry as the EPA catches up on the backlog of clean-air-protecting that languished during the Bush years, as David reported in depth a while back. Older plants that have avoided cleaning up their operations for the longest, like State Line, are under the most threat.

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2. Soot from the State Line plant has been drifting over into the Chicago area for decades, yet Indiana controls regulation for it, making it a prime example of perverse accountability structures. The plant is responsible for at least $540 million in health and related damages since 2002 — contributing to premature death, heart attacks, asthma, and other respiratory and cardiovascular disease — according to a recent report by the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago. So it’s great news for the Chicago area.

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