North Florida Power Project, Taylor County Development Authority

Authors: Healthy Development Inc.

Location: Taylor County, Florida, United States

Completion Date:

Summary of the HIA

Proposed Policy or Project

In October of 2005 Tallahassee residents were presented with the opportunity to vote on a referendum as to whether the City of Tallahassee should have a say in the design and operation of a coal-fired power plant, called the North Florida Power Project (NFPP), being built in Taylor County. In part the referendum read: "If a majority of the City Commission determines that the North Florida Power Project coal burning plant will be built in Taylor County, regardless of the City's participation, then shall the City of Tallahassee be allowed to partner in, and derive power from the plant? (Yes/No)".

Background and Policy Context

Healthy Development, Inc. (HDI) was hired by the Taylor County Development Authority (TCDA) to conduct a health impact assessment of the pending Taylor Energy Center (TEC), an 800 megawatt coal fired electric plant slated to be built over the next four years in rural Taylor County, Florida.

Taylor officials anticipated elevating the county's economic, health and social conditions by bringing TEC jobs to the area that come with a full benefits package for employees. However, many community members feared the potential health impacts of the plant’s harmful emissions to both air and water.

Scope and Methods

Phase one (of three) addresses the areas outlined below and describes the specific scope of the completed project.

  1. Qualitative Data Collection:
    1. Expert, stakeholder and key informant perspectives
    2. Community concerns identified through a blend of methods including press clips, public testimony - evaluated using issues specific scientific literature review
  2. Collection of existing population data sources: Health Departments and other government statistics such as US Census of population, housing and the economy, etc.

Scope was determined by stakeholder concerns and available data. The project investigates the health impacts of the TEC in the following areas:

  1. Human health aspects of emissions by:
    1. analyzing the impact of criteria pollutants and life expectancy
    2. investigate the impact of criteria pollutants on illness
    3. investigating carbon dioxide
    4. investigating measurable surface and groundwater impacts
    5. compare death rates of Taylor County with Madison, Dixie, Hamilton, Hendry, Washington and Suwannee Counties
  2. Human health aspects of the economic impact by:
    1. analyzing economic issues related to employment and its relationship to death rates and life expectancy
      1. race
      2. income
      3. health insurance
      4. life expectancy of TEC employees according to various employment levels and scenarios
    2. exploring economic multiplier effects
    3. exploring the issues of job training
  3. Smoking Attributable Mortality Rate analysis

Finally the project will give recommendations as to what steps should be taken to enhance the expected positive benefits of the plant’s operation and minimize the negative impacts in a wide range of areas.

Summary of Findings

Baseline information has been gathered in the following areas: air and water quality; ozone and particulate matter effects on mortality (short and long term); hospitalizations, medication use, calculations of income and individual risk of mortality, and data gathered from smoking attributable mortality analysis. Subsequent information will be forthcoming upon the completion of the project.

Background Reports

Contact

Melanie Simmons, Ph.D.

608 Bellamy Building
Tallahassee
,
Florida
32306-2240

(850) 644-3311