Action: Help stop new coal-fired plant in Marshalltown

I got this e-mail from a fellow Sierra Club member:

Now that the caucuses are behind us, there is another way to get involved in energy and environmental issues.  We have a special treat for you this month – international global warming spokesman and Iowa native Dr. James Hansen of NASA will be returning to Iowa the week of January 14th to testify against the construction of a new coal burning power plant in Marshalltown.  We need your help today to convince Governor Culver and the Iowa Utilities Board to listen to the scientific experts, and the people of Iowa, and reject the construction of this major new source of pollution.  Our leaders should choose a clean, efficient energy future that will help Iowa’s economy grow.  They should put off any decision on dirty, expensive coal until we determine if efficiency and renewable power are sufficient to power the state.  Please take thirty seconds to contact the Iowa Utilities Board by clicking on the link below:

http://capwiz.com/iowacci/issu…

Then let us know you wrote the Iowa Utilities Board by just replying to this email (mark.kresowik AT sierraclub.org).  An even more powerful action would be writing a letter in hard copy and faxing it to the Governor’s Office at 515-281-6611 (fax) or sending it to:

Governor Chet Culver and Lt. Governor Patty Judge

State Capitol

Des Moines, IA 50319

515-281-5211 (phone)

Best yet, come testify in person to the Iowa Utilities Board starting at 10:00 AM on Monday, January 14th at the Whitehall Auditorium on the grounds of the Iowa Veterans Home (1301 Summit St, Marshalltown) .  

According to a recent survey nearly four out of five Iowans think that “Iowa should focus on increased (energy) conservation steps and more fuel efficiency to reduce demand for electricity before it constructs new coal-fired power plants” (http://plainsjustice.org/survey-iowa-voters-say-no-new-coal/). Coal burning power plants are the single largest source of global warming pollution in the United States and Iowa is over-dependent on this dirty form of energy.  The first step we need to take to combat global warming is to stop the construction of proposed coal plants in Marshalltown and Waterloo and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  The Governor should continue his pledge to make Iowa the renewable energy capitol of the world and stop these plants.  Please contact the Iowa Utilities Board and the Governor today:

http://capwiz.com/iowacci/issu…

You can also hear Dr. Hansen and other expert witnesses for the Office of the Consumer Advocate and Plains Justice – who have concluded unanimously that the Marshalltown plant is unnecessary and will in fact put Iowa ratepayers at far greater risk than more prudent alternatives – in person on January 16th at 7:00 PM at the State Historical Building (600 East Locust) in Des Moines or January 17th at 7:00 PM at Old Brick (26 E. Market) in Iowa City.

  • Not sure I agree with this.

    Coal is not expensive.  It’s the cheapest per MegaWatt to construct and operate for a base load plant.

    And the options right now aren’t really between clean energy and coal, but between a new coal plant and potential for brownouts.   The energy companies cannot force their customers to use less energy, and if the base load capacity is not there, problems can arise.  The free market is just not going to be able to solve our energy problems.  And as a business operating in the current business climate, they just can’t afford to spend many times more money for less reliable optons such as wind or solar with no firm idea about the regulatory environment they will be operating in.

    Municipalities can spend a little more for wind and call it a greeen venture for their citizen ratepayers, (as they are doing with a new jont venture), but they still rely on coal for base load.

    So while I am all in favor of regulations to increase consumer/ industrial efficiency, and subsidies for alternate energy, and many other things, I am skeptical that such things can be brought on line fast enough to keep the lights from going out as load grows with out a few new traditional plants.

    In addition, a new plant would be operated preferentially to older plants.  The new plant would produce less CO2 (due to slightly more efficient new plant) and FAR less SOx, NOx, and particulates than old plants (due to better pollution controls).  And make no mistake, there are old plants out there grandfathered in with subpar pollution controls that will never be upgraded.

    • The real solution?

      One final thought… the real solution to the problem of clean power is to nationalize the power companies.  There are just no economics for private power companies to push people to restrict demand.  No one has invented clean base load power (other than hydro, which has it’s own problems).  And once you build the base load unit, it is very cheap to run.  There is very little justification to a business to spend millions building solar or wind when they have to have a coal plant anyway.

      But if the power companies were answerable to the people rather than to the shareholders, it would be simply a matter of political will to find the money to build the wind and solar and let the necessary base load units sit idle when the wind is blowing.

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