MADISON — Wisconsinites overwhelmingly oppose Alliant Energy’s proposal to build a coal-fired power plant on the shores of the Mississippi River in Cassville, Wisconsin according to documents filed before the Public Service Commission yesterday afternoon.
“Members of the public providing written comments oppose this project on a margin of ten to one,” read a Clean Wisconsin brief filed before the Public Service Commission on Monday. “Thousands of citizens have urged the Commission to deny the project due to its contribution to global climate change and the extraordinary cost of [the proposal], among many other issues,” it continued.
A final count of written comments submitted on the Public Service Commission Web site found 4,672 in opposition to the coal plant proposal and only 465 in support. Comments opposing the plant cite concern about global warming, mercury pollution, the health effects of soot and smog, and the immense cost of the proposal among many others.
“These numbers confirm that we simply don’t want another coal plant built in our state,” said Katie Nekola, energy program director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “The Public Service Commission should listen to the public and reject Alliant’s proposal to increase Wisconsin’s dependence on coal.”
At $1.26 billion, Alliant’s coal plant proposal would be the most expensive conventional coal plant in the country per unit of energy. Alliant’s own estimates predict that this would result in a 5 to 6 percent annual increase in electricity bills. The Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group and the Wisconsin Paper Council both oppose the plant due to its staggering cost.
“Wisconsin cannot afford to build the most expensive coal plant in the nation as businesses and residents struggle to keep up with the rising cost of energy,” said Nekola. “When Alliant is proposing to significantly increase electricity bills in order to build another dirty coal plant, it’s no wonder why Wisconsin residents oppose it ten to one.”
The Public Service Commission is expected to make its final decision of whether to reject or permit the proposal in mid November.