Anclote Power Plant

The Anclote Power Plant is located in Holiday, Florida, which is a Gulf Coast city approximately twenty-five miles from Tampa. In 1974, the plant’s first steam unit began to operate, and the second soon followed in 1978. These two units create steam for electric power.

Florida Power Corporation built, owned, and operated the plant until the 1990s. During this time, the plant’s disarray saw management allow outside consultants cut staff members. This led to understandable employee unhappiness and a general distrust of management. The company also developed a negative reputation concerning power outages. Progress Energy of Raleigh, North Carolina acquired the plant in 2000 and in 2003, they renamed it Progress Energy.

Since that time, Progress Energy has made a point of revitalizing its operations. They have conducted safety training, particularly in hazard awareness training regarding asbestos. Despite these changes, many environmental activists requested a cleanup of the plant’s emissions. In 1997 the plant was placed on the Florida Clean Power Coalition’s list of the “Dirty Dozen” power plants. Furthermore, a 2005 study ranked Progress Energy at number 11 for mercury emission levels.

In 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued what’s called the Clean Air Visibility Rule. This rule mandates that states identify facilities built between August 1962 and August 1977 that have the potential to create emissions affecting visibility of protected zones. Due to this rule, the Anclote facility is scheduled to begin emission reductions in 2013.

During most of the 20th century, Anclote likely used asbestos at its facility, as did most mills, factories and other power plants. Asbestos is a toxic mineral mined for its fire-retardant properties used in many industries and facilities because it was cheap, effective and unregulated in the past. Today, it is widely-known that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma cancer and several other serious illnesses.

Today, this material is removed from facilities, but this was not the case years ago when companies failed to mention its danger and the public remained uninformed. Prior to government regulations regarding asbestos, workers regularly worked with or around asbestos, allowing them to inhale its toxic fibers. Because it may take decades for a person exposed to asbestos to show any symptoms, workers frequently did not know they were facing a serious health risk. Many also carried the toxic mineral home on their clothing and sometimes exposed their family members to it, due to second-hand contact.