President Carter's energy plan would have little effect on environmental quality, and administration study said yesterday. The study, sponsored by the Energy Research and Development Administration, supports the President's contention that increased pollution from coal-burning would be offset by various forms of energy conservation.
No matter energy plan emerges from Congress, air pollution is likely to increase dramatically by the year 2000, 91-page report found.
Nitrogen oxides, which cause respiratory disease and possibly cancer, would increase 67 per cent if current trends continued and 61 per cent if Carter's plan is enacted. Sulfur oxides, which also cause respiratory illness, would increase 15 per cent out an energy plan and 11 per cent without an energy plan and 11 per cent with Carter's plan, the study said. Both compounds are released when oil, gas and coal are burned.
The study, the first to detail the enoxide, a gas released by fossil-fuel burning, which collects in the atmosphere and, according to the National Academy of Sciences, could cause drastic changes in world climate. ERDA officials said the carbon diozide problem will be the subject of a separate report.
The study, the sirst to detail the environmental effects of the plan on a state-by-state basis found the highest pollution increases in the West and the South, as the economy and population of the industrial Northeast decline. For example, eight states face a doubling in sulfur emissions by 1985, the study said. The eight are Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Nevada.
The study projects a 7 per cent increase in water pollution from dissolved solids, such as acid runoff from coal mines, by the year 200 whether or not Carter's plan is adopted.
A more serious consequence of energy growth is a dramatic increase in water consumption, the report says, especially by nuclear plants, which use water to cool atomic fuel.
By the year 2000, mines, utilities and other energy facilities will use siz times as much water as they do today, the study says, creating shortages and salinity problems in West states. Water consumption would be about 15 per cent higher with the Carter plan than without it, the report says.
Sludge - the mud-like substance left over when scrubbers remove sulfur from coal plants - would almost triple by 2000, the study projected. The Carter plan would result in 10 per cent more sludge than current energy trends would produce.
More than two-thirds of energy-related solid wastes would be the rocky residues of oil shale development, most of which would occur in two Colorado counties.
Coal mining wastes would triple by 2000 under the Carter plan or increase 250 per cent without it. Uranium milling wastes would grow 7.5 times under the plan, 8.5 radiation control problems in either case.
Carter's energy plan, under extensive revision in Congress, projects a reduction in oil imports. Domestic coal would provide 36.3 per cent of the nation's energy instead of 27.4 per cent as now projected.