Environmental groups attended a public hearing Tuesday evening hosted by the Shelby County Health Department calling for tighter regulations of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Allen Coal plant.
They feel TVA could be doing more to protect Memphians but the power-company says they already are.
"The particulate matter and the sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide the plant emits is very harmful for health," said Angela Garrone, Energy Research attorney. "A lot of it has been linked to respiratory disease, asthma and heart disease."
It's not a list businesses set out to make, but the Shelby County Terrible 10, which is put out by the Sierra Club environmental group, is one list members of the organization say people should take seriously.
"Each year the Tennessee Valley Authority Allen Coal plant is at the top of that list," said Rita Harris of the Sierra Club. "The Allen plant is burning coal that distributes over a million pounds of toxic pollution a year to the Memphis and tri-state area."
TVA spokesman Chris Stanley said Allen Coal is already operating within the guidelines set for the plant and will continue to do so if those requirements change.
"Any new requirements for state or federal emissions, we're going to continue to meet those," Stanley said. "We're actually below a lot of requirements for those set levels and we're very proud of that. We want to continue to be that way."
TVA is working on using renewable energy more, like solar power and wind power, but Stanley said those two options are not yet as reliable as coal power.
But environmentalists say operating within the current pollution controls isn't good enough and that Shelby County should set the bar higher when it comes to air quality.
"We think we should be spending our money on something that will actually lead us into a cleaner future instead of continuing the reliance on coal," Garrone said.