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Last week Conservation Law Foundation sued Dominion, owner’s of the Salem Harbor Station, with co-plaintiffs including HealthLink.

HealthLink, which was founded in 1997, has worked with Salem Willows residents and numerous others in many communities affected by the power plant. They have tried numerous methods–demonstrations, stockholders meetings, even asked former owners, PGE, to consider converting to natural gas when a large piping project in the region was undertaken.

“We have tried a number of different tactics to affect corporate policy. One cannot really effect corporate policy,” said Lynn Nadeau, founder and treasurer.

HealthLink leverages political support and embarks on projects that hold Salem Harbor Station accountable for the harmful pollution emanating from it instead.

HealthLink set up a project where numerous volunteers would send images of “opacity” violations and paid for Salem resident Katie Giddings, Salem Alliance for the Environment board member, to go to plume school. The recent lawsuit addresses such violations reported by Dominion in the 4th quarter of 2009. CLF’s Notice of Intent cites 31 additional violations beyond what plant owners are required by the state to report.

The purpose is “to call Dominion on the carpet for violations of the Clean Air Act,” said Nadeau.

The organization is often regarded as a movement by those that want to tear down the plant. Not true, according to Nadeau.

“We’re not only concerned about the power plant, we’re concerned about the total toxic burden.”

As far as the power plant itself, “we need power. But we could get rid of the coal pile and reduce the carbon footprint,” she said.

If you are interested in assisting HealthLink with its efforts, the organization is looking for an area homeowner willing to host an indoor WebCam that will continuously photograph the plume and automatically transmit images and data to a HealthLink computer elsewhere. HealthLink has the equipment and the technician–it just needs a location to continue its admirable watchdog work. Contact healthlink@healthlink.org.

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