DNR extends comment period for Marshalltown coal plant air permit

Earlier this month, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources issued a draft air quality permit for the proposed coal-fired power plant near Marshalltown. There are big problems with the draft permit. For one thing, it does not regulate carbon-dioxide emissions, even though coal-fired power plants are a major source of greenhouse gases.

In addition, the draft permit does not regulate fine particulate matter (also known as particulate matter 2.5), which causes and exacerbates many respiratory illnesses. Fine particulate matter isn’t just a nuisance–it causes many premature deaths. You would think that an air quality permit would address an air pollution issue with major implications for human health.

The good news is that on Friday the DNR extended the public comment period for this air quality permit, thanks to numerous comments encouraged by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. Mike Carberry of Green State Solutions forwarded the DNR’s press release to me:

Due to extensive interest, the public comment period for the draft air quality construction permits for the coal-fired power plant proposed by Interstate Power and Light for its Marshalltown facility-Sutherland Generating Station-has been extended to May 18. Public hearings will also be held in five additional cities.

Currently scheduled are four public hearings (two each at two locations):

March 16, 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m., Iowa Veterans’ Home, Whitehill Chapel, 1501 Summit Street Marshalltown

March 16, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Iowa Veterans’ Home, Marshalltown

March 17, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Meskwaki Tribal Center, 346 Meskwaki Road, Tama

March 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., Meskwaki Tribal Center, Tama

Due to the many comments received from particular areas of the state, additional public hearings have been scheduled in Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Iowa City and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. Specific times and sites have not been determined at this point, but the hearings will likely be held in early May. As soon as that information is available it will be released to the public.

The public hearings are for the purpose of accepting comments only. Comments at the public hearings will be limited to five minutes. Presentations shall include a hard copy for inclusion into public record.

Comments may also be submitted in writing before 4:30 p.m., May 18, to Chris Roling, Air Quality Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 7900 Hickman Road Ste 1, Urbandale, IA 50322 or emailed to chris.roling@dnr.iowa.gov.

All documents for this project are available on the DNR Air Quality Bureau’s Web site at http://aq48.dnraq.state.ia.us:…

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Please submit your comments on this draft air quality permit. Making this permit stronger in any way would reduce the adverse impact of this coal plant and might prompt the utility to abandon the project.

You can download a pdf file with talking points for your comments on the Iowa page of the Sierra Club’s website.

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