Action: Demand more public input on coal plant in Marshalltown

This e-mail came from the Sierra Club Iowa Chapter today:

Take Action for Clean Energy

The draft air permit for Alliant Energy’s massive proposed coal-fired plant in Marshalltown could be released any day now. It is critical that all Iowans have a chance to participate in the permitting process and express concerns about public health and the threat to Iowa’s energy future posed by dirty fuels of the past like coal.

Tell Governor Culver and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Richard Leopold that more public hearings should be held, and the comment period should be extended to 90 days.

Click here to take action:…

Alliant’s proposed 642 megawatt coal plant would emit tons of harmful soot and smog forming pollution linked to serious respiratory and heart problems.  It would also spew roughly 6,000,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  This is a statewide debate about the air we breathe and the energy choices we make-all concerned Iowans should have the opportunity to make their voices heard.

We need clean energy solutions in Iowa that will create jobs and foster the growth of our economy, not pollute our air for decades.

Please take action now and help us demand a cleaner energy future!

In hope and enthusiasm,

Neila Seaman


Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter

3839 Merle Hay Road, Suite 280

Des Moines, IA 50310


Clicking the above links will take you to a page where you can send a message to Governor Culver and DNR director Leopold. You can use the message the Sierra Club has drafted, or personalize your message as desired.

Click here to read a Sierra Club fact sheet on how burning coal adversely affects the environment and public health. Those facts and figures may be useful for your message to Culver and Leopold.

Extending the public comment period on an air quality permit may seem like no big deal, but the longer that this process takes, and the more Iowans who weigh in, the better the chance that Alliant will walk away from this project. Earlier this week LS Power announced that it would no longer try to build a coal-fired power plant near Waterloo, citing market conditions and lower future projected electricity demand.

  • How about "Let's stop the plant"?

    Isn’t asking for greater public input setting the bar a bit too low?  We’re not celebrating because LS Power was required to decrease their emissions, we’re celebrating that they’ve left town.  The Alliant plant should not be built.  It’s the wrong plant at the wrong time: it is not needed since demand is dropping, it is not state of the art, it will hurt the environment and our children, it will kill the state’s economy by raising electrical rates by 22%, it has doubled in cost in the last year and will certainly get more expensive still, and on a per-kilowatt/hour basis will likely be the most expensive plant ever built in the country.

    …and no matter the cost Iowa ratepayers will be forced to pay for it all, while Alliant’s shareholder reap a guaranteed profit.  LS Power pulled out because they would be forced to compete in a free-market economy, and they knew the numbers didn’t add up.  Alliant wants this plant because they can push its costs off onto consumers at no risk to themselves.

    Our goal can’t be “more public input”.  We need to stop this plant now.  If it is built we have failed this generation and the next.  Let’s light up the switchboards so much that when it comes time for public input the governor is looking for an excuse to kill the plant, not looking for a way to appease the greenies.

    • Sierra Club is working on many fronts

      to stop the plant. This isn’t their entire strategy, this is one piece of the puzzle. Extending the comment period will allow more people against the plant to weigh in while also delaying the process.

      Also, the conditions attached to the air quality permit will affect Alliant’s eventual decision on whether to pursue this project.

      Sierra Club and several other environmental groups have also intervened with the Iowa Utilities Board, which will make a ruling on ratemaking sometime soon.

      I’m with you, the application to build this plant should never have been approved:


      If you use the Bleeding Heartland search engine and type in “coal” and “Marshalltown” you’ll find many other posts I’ve written calling for action to stop this plant as well.

      Every new coal-fired power plant is a 50-year investment in the wrong direction.

      Sierra Club has the big picture in mind, don’t worry. The ultimate goal is to stop the plant. Demanding more public input before an air quality permit is issued is one step toward that goal.

  • I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but...

    …nuclear power isn’t that bad of an option. It’s clean(er) and green(er), there are surely many sites in the state where new plants could go up, and building new nuclear plants would employ many people.

    Just a thought.  

    • too expensive, and takes too long to bring online

      From what I have read, nuclear power just isn’t competitive when you start looking at all the costs and government guarantees that are necessary. It would also take many years to bring new nuclear power plants online.

      Energy efficiency measures are the fastest, cheapest way to meet our baseload needs, but we could develop more solar and wind generated electricity a lot faster than more nuclear, without the potential proliferation problems and without creating waste we’ll need to store for centuries.

      I think nuclear power simply fails a cost-benefit analysis. It may be cleaner than coal, but that isn’t saying much.

      How about employing people to manufacture solar panels and install them on all our buildings with big flat roofs? That would create a lot of jobs.

You need to signin or signup to post a comment.