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Mirant

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Mirant
Type Public (NYSEMIR)
Headquarters 1155 Perimeter Center West
Atlanta, GA 30338
Key people Edward R. Muller, CEO
Industry Electric Producer & Distributor
Products Electricity
Revenue $2.02 billion (2007)[1]
Net income $2.00 billion (2007)[1]
Employees 1,740 (2007)
Website Mirant.com

Mirant, an Atlanta-based energy company, produces and sells electricity in the United States. The company was spun-off from its former parent, Southern Company, on April 2, 2001.[2]

Mirant operates 13 plants in the states of California, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Virginia and has the capacity to generate approximately 10,300 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

On December 3, 2010, RRI Energy merged with Mirant to form GenOn Energy, and the corporate names and logos of both RRI Energy and Mirant were retired.[3] GenOn Energy was acquired by NRG Energy in December 2012[4] for $1.7 billion.[5]

Political contributions

Mirant is one of the largest energy company contributors to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. These contributions total $118,100 to the 110th US Congress (as of the third quarter), the largest of which has been to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Rep. Hoyer, for his part, has been a supporter of the coal industry on energy, war and climate bills.[1][citation needed]

Contributions like this from fossil fuel companies to members of Congress are often seen as a political barrier to pursuing clean energy.[citation needed]

More information on coal industry contributions to Congress can be found at FollowtheCoalMoney.org, a project sponsored by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Oil Change International and Appalachian Voices.[citation needed]

CEO compensation

In May 2007, Forbes listed Mirant CEO Edward R. Muller as receiving $3.44 million in total compensation for the latest fiscal year. He ranked 29th on the list of CEOs in the Utilities industry, and 361st among all CEOs in the United States.[6]

Power portfolio

Out of its total 11,221 MW of electric generating capacity in 2005 (1.05% of the U.S. total), Mirant produced 37.0% from natural gas, 32.1% from oil, and 30.9% from coal. Mirant owns power plants in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, and Virginia.[7]

Existing coal-fired power plants

Mirant owned 14 coal-fired generating stations in 2005, with 3,462 MW of capacity. Here is a list of Mirant's coal power plants in 2005:[7][8][9]

Plant Name State County Year(s) Built Capacity 2007 CO2 Emissions 2006 SO2 Emissions
Morgantown MD Charles 1970, 1971 1252 MW 6,209,000 tons 98,073 tons
Chalk Point MD Prince Georges 1964, 1965 728 MW 6,624,000 tons 49,591 tons
Dickerson MD Montgomery 1959, 1960, 1962 588 MW 3,357,000 tons 35,954 tons
Potomac River VA Alexandria 1949, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1957 514 MW 2,459,000 tons 10,589 tons
Lovett NY Rockland 1966, 1969 380 MW 2,021,000 tons 9,185 tons

In 2006, Mirant's 5 coal-fired power plants emitted 20.7 million tons of CO2 and 203,000 tons of SO2 (1.36% of all U.S. SO2 emissions).

Other Power Stations

In addition to coal plants, Mirant also operates the following power plants fueled by natural gas and diesel:

  • Contra Costa Generating Plant, 674 MW from natural gas. Antioch, California.
  • Pittsburg Generating Plant, 1,311 MW from natural gas. Located in Pittsburg, California.
  • Potrero Generating Plant, 363 MW from natural gas. San Francisco, California.

land.

  • Kendall Generating Plant, 256 MW from natural gas/oil. Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Martha's Vineyard Diesels, 14 MW from diesel. Located in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
  • Canal Generating Plant, 1,112 MW from natural gas/oil. Sandwich, Massachusetts.
  • Bowline Generating Plant, 1,125 MW from natural gas/oil. West Haverstraw, New York.

Coal lobbying

Mirant is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.[10]

ACAA set up a front group called Citizens for Recycling First, which argues that using toxic coal ash as fill in other products is safe, despite evidence to the contrary.[10]

Environmental Record

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst identified Mirant as the 63rd-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, based on 2002 data, with roughly 19 million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air.[11] Major pollutants indicated by the study include sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and chromium compounds.[12]

Direct Action against Mirant

Nov. 10, 2004: Chesapeake Climate Action Network blockade of Dickerson Power Plant

On November 10, 2004, a group of Chesapeake Climate Action Network activists, students, farmers, and religious officials held a protest against the Dickerson plant. During the protest, six people were arrested for blocking the entrance road to the plant. The protestors called on Mirant Corporation to stop opposing state and federal legislation against power plant pollution.[13]

Mirant Clean Air Settlement

On May 8, 2006 Mirant Mid-Atlantic agreed to eliminate nearly 29,000 tons of harmful pollution each year that is produced by its four coal-fired electrical plants in Maryland and Virginia as a result of allegations that the company had violated New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act. The U.S. EPA, Department of Justice and the states of Virginia and Maryland worked on a joint settlement agreement, which sought to reduce the output of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the four plants.

Under settlement terms, Mirant will cap NOx emissions on a system-wide basis from its Chalk Point Generating Station in Maryland, Dickerson Generating Station in Maryland, Morgantown Generating Station in Maryland, and its Potomac River Generating Station in Virginia. To meet these objectives Mirant will install pollution control equipment at its Potomac River and Morgantown power plants, and may also install controls at their other sites. According to Mirant, the company will be installing Flue gas desulfurization (scrubbers) to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) that will be operable by 2010.[14] The EPA notes that Mirant will install and operate two Selective Catalytic Reduction devices to control for NOx emissions at its Morgantown facility, as well as Separated Over-Fire Air technology at the Potomac plant.

Mirant also paid a $500,000 civil penalty, which was divided between Virgina and the U.S. government. Additionally, Mirant will spend at least $1 million on nine separate projects to reduce fine particulate matter (PM) from its Potomac River Generating Station.

"The reductions in NOx emissions required by this settlement will result in general improved air quality throughout the metropolitan area and the surrounding region," said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Today's settlement is evidence of the continued progress that we are achieving through the cooperative enforcement efforts of federal and state agencies."

NOx contributes to the formation of acid rain and also increases low-level ozone, which causes smog, and fine PM causes haze.[15]

On December 21, 2009, Mirant announced that it had completed a $1.67 billion installation at three of its coal-fired power plants in Maryland. The air quality controls were installed on three of the coal-fired units at the Morgantown and Chalk Point plants. The company said the systems will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 98 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent, and mercury emissions by 80 percent.[16]

Lawsuit over Mirant dry ash disposal site in Maryland

On November 19, 2009, environmental groups filed a notice-of-intent-to-sue against Mirant Mid-Atlantic LLC and Mirant Maryland Ash Management LLC. The groups, including the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and others, allege Clean Water Act violations at the Brandywine Coal Combustion Waste Landfill in Prince George’s County, MD. The landfill does not use liners to prevent the coal waste from leaching into groundwater, and activists say an expected hazardous designation from EPA would require such liners and other means to prevent water contamination. The notice-of-intent against Mirant charges the company with "illegally discharging toxic pollutants into Mataponi Creek" through landfill leaching and violating the conditions of its permit, actions which have "injured, and will continue to injure, the health, environmental, aesthetic and economic interest of the plaintiffs." According to Jennifer Peterson of EIP, "The TVA spill dramatized the devastation that is caused when coal waste surface impoundments burst their banks. But slow motion toxic leaks and discharges from so-called 'dry' landfills also pose unacceptable risks to the environment and public health." Environmentalists suggest the new suit may lead to more lawsuits, especially if EPA classifies coal waste disposed in landfills as non-hazardous. New EPA regulations regarding coal ash disposal are expected by the end of 2009.[17]

Nov. 10, 2004: Chesapeake Climate Action Network blockade of Dickerson Power Plant

On November 10, 2004, a group of Chesapeake Climate Action Network activists, students, farmers, and religious officials held a protest against the coal-fired Dickerson Power Plant in Montgomery County, Maryland. During the protest, six people were arrested for blocking the entrance road to the plant. The protestors called on the plant's owner, the Mirant Corporation, to stop opposing state and federal legislation against power plant pollution.[18]

2003 Bankruptcy

On July 14, 2003, after months of attempting to restructure its debt, the company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Mirant bankruptcy proceedings were unusual in that the court agreed to the appointment of a committee of equity holders. The usual reasoning is that if there is any positive equity in a company, the company should not be in Chapter 11 - and if there isn't, there is no reason for a committee of people without such an interest. But the judge did find it sufficiently likely in Mirant that there would be equity interest after re-organization to create such a committee.

In January of 2006, Mirant emerged from bankruptcy and the company was relisted to the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MIR. The equity holders from the pre-bankruptcy Mirant did retain a portion of the equity of the re-organized entity.

Prior to the bankruptcy filing, Mirant had attempted to expand the Potrero Point power plant, previously owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in San Francisco, California, but neighborhood and community activists fought the proposal for five years and on March 2, 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission announced its rejection of Mirant's expansion plans. The plant is scheduled for closure sometime in 2007.[19]

In 2007, Mirant sold some gas-fired generating plants and its overseas power plants in the Philippines and in the Caribbean.[20]

Tax issues

Mirant, which owns and operates two power plants in the Hudson Valley Region of New York State, has failed to pay its property taxes over the last several years, claiming over-assessments by the Towns of Stony Point and Haverstraw, New York, as well as the North Rockland School District. Under the terms of bankruptcy, Mirant held payment in excess of $180 million due this last several years while a settlement could be reached. This case, which has caused local residents to themselves file bankruptcy, which cost the average taxpayer over $2,000 in increased property taxes.

The higher than average assessments paid to the local municipalities were part of a strategy used by the Consolidated Edison and Orange and Rockland Utilities, whose plants Mirant assumed after deregulation, to site their plants in this very picturesque Hudson River Valley Scenic Area. Local residents, who at one time could justify a 50 acre power plant in their backyard in exchange for a more reasonable tax rate, now see a 180% increases in taxes with nothing in exchange for the trouble. Taxpayers are now forced to live with the plants and without any of the benefits a local area would get from a large industrial plant.

Following proceedings in state court, a settlement was reached between Mirant and the towns in December 2006, with taxes based on lower assessed values of the two power plants.[21]

The Mirant Lovett Plant has been named as one of the worst polluters in the State of New York, and closed on April 19, 2008, and the Bowline Plant, at nearly 40 years old, and will be denied any requests for upgrades by the town, county, and state without which any major overhaul will be denied out of hand.

Personnel

Management

Directors

  • Edward R. Muller
  • Thomas W. Cason
  • A.D. (Pete) Correll
  • Terry G. Dallas
  • Thomas H. Johnson
  • John T. Miller
  • Robert C. Murray
  • John M. Quain
  • William L. Thacker

Articles and Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mirant Corp., BusinessWeek Company Insight Center, accessed July 2008.
  2. Mirant Spin-Off, Southern Company website, accessed Oct. 2007.
  3. GenOn Energy (Dec. 3, 2010). "Mirant and RRI Energy Complete Merger". Press release. Retrieved on Apr. 29, 2011.
  4. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/nrg-genon-complete-merger-creating-220000871.html
  5. NRG Energy to Buy GenOn for $1.7 Billion
  6. CEO Compensation: #361 Edward R Muller, Forbes.com, May 3, 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
  8. Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
  9. Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash DeSmogBlog.com & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
  11. "The Toxic 100: Top Corporate Air Polluters in the United States", Political Economy Research Institute study (May 11, 2006), accessed January 2009.
  12. Toxics Release Inventory, Right-to-know Network, accessed January 2009.
  13. Demonstrators Decry Mirant Corporation for Ignoring Public Health and Global Warming, Chesapeake Climate Action Network press release, November 10, 2004.
  14. "Chalk Point Generating Plant," Mirant's Chalk Point Generating Plant, accessed November 6, 2009
  15. "Clean Air Act Settlement to Eliminate Almost 29,000 Tons of Harmful Emissions in Virginia and Maryland," U.S. EPA, May 8, 2006
  16. "Mirant Completes $1.67B Air Quality Control Installation," P.R. Newswire, December 21, 2009.
  17. "Activists Target 'Dry' Coal Ash Disposal In Bid For Hazardous Waste Rule," Inside EPA, November 24, 2009. (Subscription required)
  18. Demonstrators Decry Mirant Corporation for Ignoring Public Health and Global Warming, Chesapeake Climate Action Network press release, November 10, 2004.
  19. Potrero shutdown
  20. Mirant website - Our History
  21. 2006 Mirant Annual Report

Resources

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External Articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Mirant. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.