Power plants are harmful to the environment in two manners, through what is consumed and through what is produced, as an offset. Consumption by most power plants requires fuel (i.e. coal, uranium, natural gas) which is not renewable. The gathering of these resources is often done in a manner which is environmentally destructive. (The link below gives an example, mountain top removal for coal mining, albeit biased.)
The second manner, production of emmissons, is clear. Air, water and land contaminants are a result of these power plants. An example of this can be found from the Commisson for Environmental Cooperation in a 2002 study on air pollution in North America.
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