Register comes out against Marshalltown coal plant

Last week was disappointing for Iowa environmentalists in several ways, which I’ll discuss in future posts. Thankfully, I opened the Des Moines Register today to find an editorial opposing plans to build a new coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown:

Five years ago, when MidAmerican started construction at Council Bluffs, a Register editorial made just one reference to global warming and declared that Iowa “is on the right course by encouraging development of modern, cleaner-burning coal plants while pursuing renewable fuels and rewarding consumers who use less energy.” The newspaper also praised Alliant’s plans for new generating capacity.

Today, the editorial board has concluded that building a coal-fired plant in Marshalltown is not now the right course for Iowa. The right course would place far greater emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable sources of generation, particularly wind. For power plants, it would encourage a harder look at natural gas, which emits much less carbon dioxide, and would specify that any new “cleaner-burning coal plants” must be able, at least on the near horizon, to capture and sequester carbon dioxide.

For background on strengthening energy efficiency and finding alternatives to coal in Iowa, check out this page on the Iowa Environmental Council’s website.

On the right side of the screen you can click on a pdf file, which is a position paper specifically about coal-fired power plants.

For much more information about coal, including the costs of coal and the impacts of coal-fired generation of electricity, the Union of Concerned Scientists website has comprehensive information.

  • I get the feeling that this decision is in Culver's hands

    Culver has the power to halt this project just as the Governor in Kansas did.  Culver has called for Iowa to become to renewable energy capital of the world and the idea of building a new coal plant would not fit into that at all.  You just can’t be for renewable energy and for coal.

    • could be killed before then

      The Iowa Utilities Board may not approve this plant. If anyone out there has any influence with John Norris, please let him know how you feel about this issue.

      Also, there is a chance that the DNR could deny a permit to this project.

      Rumor has it that Culver would prefer to see this plant not get built, but would also prefer not to be the one who killed it. Let’s hope we can defeat this project before it gets to the point where only the governor can stop it from going ahead.

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