White Bluff Steam Electric Station

Located in Redfield, Arkansas, just south of Little Rock, is the White Bluff Steam Electric Station, and in 1979 it became part of Conway Corporation. It was not yet fully functional, although people anticipated that within a few years the plant would produce a substantial amount of electricity. In a partnership that provided electrical power to the nearby communities, the Conway Corporation offered a starting payment of six and a half million dollars for a 2% share in the company.

Located along the Arkansas River, the White Bluff Steam Electric Station produces approximately 700 megawatts using steam powered electricity. The plant states that 500 homes can be powered with only one megawatt. In 1982, the plant became wholly operational. Entergy Arkansas is the White Bluff Steam Electric Station’s primary owner and provides electricity to over 650,000 businesses and residential customers.

White Bluff is 36th in the nation for the most polluting coal-powered plants due to the high mercury levels that enter the surrounding atmosphere from this electric station’s smokestacks. White Bluff is the 50th worst plant regarding emissions of carbon dioxide, and this is not the worst of the plant’s problems. Railway deterioration in the area has caused a coal shortage. It is for this reason the plant is buying supplemental coal from other sources, which results in price increases for consumers.

Due to its fire resistant properties, asbestos was utilized in many work sites across the country such as power plants, mills and factories. Although the insulating properties of asbestos proved useful, the dangers of its use were catastrophic: untold numbers of workers died or suffered horribly due to illnesses which were caused as a direct result of asbestos exposure. Cancer and asbestosis are two of the most serious diseases caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma is the deadliest of these, as it is a type of cancer that destroys the tissue lining the abdominal cavity, heart and lungs.

Now that the link between this mineral and serious illness is known, modern workers are protected by safety and health statutes that dictate the handling of asbestos; however, this was not the case in the past. Additionally, carcinogens were carried home on the hair and clothes of asbestos workers, putting other members of the household at considerable risk.  The latency period for mesothelioma and asbestos-related cancers can be as long as 40 years, which means one may not develop the disease for decades after ceasing to work where the exposure took place.