Released draft of environmental impact statement cites environmental and economic concerns

MADISON ā€” Alliant’s proposed Cassville coal-fired power plant “is not the optimal generation choice” and “is not the least cost option under any scenario,” according to a draft environmental impact statement released by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin today.

“This document affirms that Alliant’s proposed Cassville coal plant threatens both Wisconsin’s environment and Wisconsin’s economy,” said Katie Nekola, Energy Program Director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “The proposed plant will pollute our air and water, contribute to global warming, and increase electricity bills for Wisconsin energy users.”

The statement, one of the key documents the Public Service Commission will use in determining whether to permit the coal-fired power plant, further states that “the likelihood of a carbon tax decreases the attractiveness of coal.”

“Global warming regulation will drastically increase the price of burning coal,” said Nekola. “When this occurs, Wisconsin’s energy users will have to foot the bill for Alliant’s pollution.”

Beyond commenting on the economic dangers of the proposed plant, the statement further warns of the environmental concerns regarding the inefficiency of the plant. The Public Service Commission found that “more efficient coal units with the ability to burn biomass reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Alliant’s proposed plant will emit the same amount of global warming pollution as 40-year-old Wisconsin coal plants,” Nekola said. “This proposal flies in the face of all of the hard work of Governor Doyle and the Global Warming Task Force he created.”

The Public Service Commission’s release of the statement falls two days after Governor Doyle signed a memorandum of understanding with Great Britain encouraging collaboration in the shared interest of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and one day before a planned protest of the proposed plant at Alliant Energy’s annual shareholder meeting.

“It’s clear that Alliant’s proposed coal plant is too dangerous for Wisconsin’s environment and its economy,” Nekola said. “The cost of coal is simply too high.”