08/30/2011 07:36 pm ET | Updated Oct 30, 2011

Capitol Coal: Potomac River Generating Station to Shut Down

You can see the Potomac River coal plant from the nation's Capitol building. But not for much longer. The owner of the Potomac plant, GenOn Energy, announced today that it will shutter the plant -- one of the nation's oldest and dirtiest -- by October 2012.

Good riddance.

The Potomac plant is a throwback to a bygone era of dirty, polluting power that is at the root of many of our health and environmental problems today. William Euille, Mayor of the City of Alexandria, where the coal plant is located, told local media, "This news strengthens Alexandria's future and opens the door to an enhanced quality of life for our residents."

The Potomac coal plant emits about 145 pounds of mercury into the air every year, in addition to tons of other hazardous pollutants. According to Greenpeace, "Over the past year, the plant has dumped hundreds of gallons of oil into and around the Potomac River, had dangerous acid leaks on its property, and has continued to decimate fish in the Potomac."

Here's a video of recent actions by local and national environmental groups to shut down the Potomac Generating Station:

This is clearly a victory for local groups that have been fighting to close this plant for years, and even more so for local residents who have been subjected to Potomac's Station's toxic pollutants.

If only this had happened a decade ago would it be better news. The time to quit coal is way overdue.