Cheshire, Ohio: Toxic Town


By Michael J. Lynch, University of South Florida, FL


Cheshire, Ohio is an example of a toxic town (see toxic town entry in this dictionary). The town of Cheshire was located in southeast Ohio near the border of West Virginia. It was also located quite near a large power plant operated by American Electric Power’s James M. Gavin coal-fired power plant, the largest electrical power plant in Ohio and the US, and one of the largest in the world with the capacity to burn 25,000 tons of coal per day. In 2012, American Electric Power was the largest polluter in Ohio, emitting 9.6 million pounds of pollution.

While the emissions from the power plant have long been a concern to Cheshire residents, the problem was confounded in the early 2000s when AEP installed new scrubbers at the plant. Those scrubbers lead to an increase in sulfur trioxide, and promoted an increase in air pollution and a blue haze in the town. Following complaints and a lawsuit filed by 82 residents, American Electric settle the suit by agreeing to buy out the residents of Cheshire. The settlement, however, did not include provisions to move nearby school facilities within 600 yards of the plant. The settlement adds Cheshire to the list of toxic towns transformed into ghost towns.

For additional information on American Electric, its campaign contributions, prior suits and settlements, and other related issues see this LINK. For related images of pollution at this facility see Cheshire Pollution.

Further Reading

In this dictionary see:”Toxic Towns” entry


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