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Marshalltown Coal Plant Proposal under Fire - National Experts Testify in Opposition

02 11 07 - 09:46


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Marshalltown Coal Plant Proposal under Fire - National Experts Testify in Opposition


Dr. James Hansen to return home to testify against coal, global warming



Today the Cedar Rapids-based public interest environmental law center Plains Justice submitted testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board opposing the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, on behalf of a coalition of Iowa organizations. The joint intervenors oppose the plant's global warming pollution and air and water quality damage. Before the plant can be built, the Iowa Utilities Board must determine whether Alliant Energy's proposal meets the criteria for what is commonly referred to as a 'Certificate of Need'.


Marshalltown Coal Plant Proposal under Fire - National Experts Testify in Opposition


Dr. James Hansen to return home to testify against coal, global warming



Today the Cedar Rapids-based public interest environmental law center Plains Justice submitted testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board opposing the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, on behalf of a coalition of Iowa organizations. The joint intervenors oppose the plant's global warming pollution and air and water quality damage. Before the plant can be built, the Iowa Utilities Board must determine whether Alliant Energy's proposal meets the criteria for what is commonly referred to as a 'Certificate of Need'.


Dr. James Hansen, noted climate scientist and international voice for global warming solutions, grew up in Denison, Iowa and is testifying for the first time in such a case. Hansen and experts Dr. Neil Harl, Professor Emeritus of Agriculture and Economics at Iowa State University; Tom Sanzillo, former First Deputy Comptroller for the State of New York; and Dr. Kristen Welker-Hood, Director of Environmental and Health Programs for Physicians for Social Responsibility, have filed testimony and will appear at the IUB public hearing in January as witnesses for the coalition. Plains Justice attorneys Carrie La Seur of Mount Vernon and Jana Linderman of Cedar Rapids are representing Community Energy Solutions, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Renewable Energy Association and the Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

"If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains – no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species," said Dr. Hansen, who is testifying as a private citizen. "It is important in this proceeding for the decision makers to realize that the least cost technology to the firm generating the electricity is not the least cost for society," Dr. Harl notes.

Dr. Welker-Hood testifies that "emissions from the operation of [the Marshalltown plant] would negate more than 90 percent of the CO2 reductions that would be achieved in New York State under draft regulations for implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative." Expert witness Sanzillo concludes bluntly that the plant is "unnecessary."


The massive new plant is proposed for the east side of Marshalltown, adjacent to a smaller existing coal plant. Damage inflicted by the plant may include "diminution of the value of the state's existing renewable energy generation facilities, damage to the development of new renewable energy generation facilities, displacement of renewable energy from the grid, increases in retail electricity rates, damage to air and water quality, increased fuel costs due to inefficient ethanol refining processes, civil rights violations of minority communities targeted by the highly polluting coal industry, damage to Iowa's ecosystem and agricultural economy from the increasing impacts of global warming, violation of state energy policy, and future damage to electricity consumers who will pay the eventual cost of carbon regulation," according to the petition drafted by Plains Justice.


The 660 MW coal plant proposed by Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy would emit approximately 6,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Alliant projects a 40% increase in emissions in the next 7 years, making them one of the worst global warming offenders in the Midwest. The Iowa Utility Association, of which Alliant is a member, recently commissioned a study that demonstrated that capacity for nearly 1,000 MW of cost-effective energy efficiency potential is available in their service territory in the next ten years at half the cost of Alliant's proposed coal plant. Kansas and Florida regulators rejected similar large coal plant proposals in 2007 because of global warming impacts.

Sally Wilson, a biology professor at Marshalltown Community College and member of Community Energy Solutions, opposes the plant as a private citizen. "We deserve clean air and water as much as any other town in Iowa," says Wilson. "There's no reason for Iowa to be building more coal plants. It is critical that we protect our environment for the health of our community and its members. We are dependent on clean air and water," says Wilson. "It makes no sense to build a coal plant when much better alternatives are now available."

The Iowa Utilities Board will hold public hearings starting January 14th in Marshalltown.

"The single most important action needed to decrease the present large planetary imbalance driving climate change is curtailment of CO2 emissions from coal burning," said Dr. Hansen. "Because of the danger of passing the ice sheet tipping point, even the emissions from one Iowa coal plant, with emissions of 6,000,000 tons of CO2 per year, could be important as 'the straw on the camel's back'."



The full text of the Plains Justice petition and the direct testimony of the joint intervenors' four expert witnesses are available at:



http://plainsjustice.org/direct-testimony-for-coalition-against-the-proposed-sutherland-coal-plant/ . Used tags: , , , , ,

one comment

This is a topic that's close to my heart...
Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?
hack (URL) - 17 07 18 - 00:02

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Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?

Saturday 16 July 2011 at 06:07 am Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?


By Pete Spotts


The images are stark: soot-grimed firefighters steering bulldozers or wielding shovels to clear underbrush; curtains of orange flame tracing the contours of summits; aircraft dumping chemicals to slow a fire's progress.

Between Jan. 1 and early July of 2011, slightly more than 38,000 wildfires charred the landscape in the United States at a record pace. So far this year, wildfires have consumed just under 4.9 million acres of forest and grassland, a cumulative expanse the size of New Jersey.

That's 1 million more acres than fires consumed during the same period in 2006, which saw a record 9.9 million acres burned for the entire year.

Beyond the numbers, this year's fires may provide the first large-scale tests of the effectiveness of projects undertaken over the past decade to help forests survive wildfires, several specialists say.

The West's forests are adapted to deal with certain types of wildfires, researchers note. But since the mid-1980s, they add, some of these forests have experienced an increasing number of fires to which they are not well adapted.

Many researchers trace this shift in part to climate change. more

Hybrid Moves Into Housing

Sunday 22 May 2011 at 01:14 am Hybrid Moves Into Housing


By Brenda Krueger Huffman

(Chicago) – Recycling - Check. Conserving energy - Check. Hybrid car - Next car, check. Hybrid home system - What? Yes, it’s here. Hybrid has seamlessly, successfully moved into housing.

Safety Power, Inc. was initially started to provide homes with back up power. The company quickly grew to include renewable energy options and advising commercial and industrial clients with electrical conservation. Recently the company has come full circle and began marketing a new more capable type of renewable energy system for homes.

The award winning firm was voted one of the “Top 5 Sustainable Product Companies in Illinois” and continues to grow its residential client base in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Safety Power also serves larger firms on the national level.

Robert Brazzale, President of Safety Power, a master electrician turned entrepreneur, began Safety Power in 2007. An avid member of Local First Chicago, Rob believes in assisting sustaining local economies with green collar jobs and belongs to many green orientated groups in Chicago and around the country. more

Are electric car makers missing the trick?

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 11:12 am Are electric car makers missing the trick?


by Martin Ott

I believe that electric car makers may be driving us all down the road that may result in the same sort of technology failures that we have seen in the past.
I'm not referring to the Sinclair scooter here but cast your mind back to the débâcle of Betamax v VHS home recording systems. The eventual winner was the technically inferior VHS but the battle was not resolved until innumerable consumers had paid out for worthless Betamax systems. Back in the 70's a similar conflict occurred over audio systems when America fell in love with the 8 track tape system that moved magnetic tape in a loop over the player head at a high speed resulting in a better sound. The world market finally dictated that the audio cassette was the way to go but not until millions of consumers had been lumbered with home and in-car systems that went down the technological cul de sac. more

Wind Turbine Manufacturer Acknowledges SGS´s Contribution towards Successful Project Completion

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:57 am by Suresh Varma

The Theni Wind Farm project was developed by CLP India Pvt. Ltd., one of the major wind farm project developers in India. Located in the south western part of Tamilnadu, a southern state of the country, the facility consists of 60 Vestas V82 geared wind turbines. As recognition of its contribution towards the successful execution of this wind power project SGS received Vestas award.

Each turbine at the wind farm has a capacity of 1.65 MW IEC Class IIB machine with a blade diameter of 82 m. After a six-month long completion period, the Theni Wind Farm was officially opened in May, 2010.

Acting as contract engineer during project execution, SGS was responsible for ensuring that all activities were carried out at the site by the contractor in line with the final agreement. In doing so, SGS supervised the quality of construction works, the fulfillment of the technical parameters and kept the project within the scheduled time and contracted price. more

E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:37 am E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

by Power Plus Communications

Mannheim - Power Plus Communications AG (PPC), the leading provider of Broadband Powerline Communication systems (BPL) for smart grids has taken on a key role within an E.ON smart grid project to facilitate an extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution.

E.ON Westfalen Weser AG is currently trialing smart grid technology within its network of 1.3 million inhabitants and PPC's proven medium voltage BPL solution has connected substations in the project using the existing power grid.

Using BPL technology, standard compliant and IP-based data transfer rates of 5-30 Mbit/s can easily be achieved via the medium voltage cable itself. Within E.ON’s smart grid project, PPC's medium voltage technology facilitated the extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution. The Cisco smart grid Router and Switches used in the project are highly compatible with BPL networks, providing a real cost advantage over fiber optic networks – which can be much more expensive where cables are not pre-existing.

By combining their technology at Westfalen Weser, PPC and Cisco have ensured the evolution of fast and efficient smart grids which are controlled on an IP basis. This increases the reliability of the power grid, fulfills regulations and drives down costs. At the same time this modern smart grids communications technology makes it possible to effectively integrate renewable energy into the grid. more

MIT Infrastructure "Life Cycle" Study is Progress Both Left & Right Can Embrace - Part 2, Fiscal Responsibility

Saturday 19 February 2011 at 09:02 am By Brenda Krueger Huffman


Chicago – Perhaps moving to the center is where we all need to be politically on the environment and effective spending compatibility. Not all green technology is crazy, and not all business profit or government expenditure is evil.

Even if you do not believe in man caused climate change, we can all agree leaving a cleaner planet and a more fiscally responsible government for the next generation is preferable to not doing so.

Perhaps green technology can be cost effective, and government fiscal responsibility may realistically include affordable green initiatives. Honest “life cycle analysis” and “life cycle cost analysis” study considerations should be a political compromise starting point both the left and the right can embrace. more

Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

Thursday 27 January 2011 at 11:05 am Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

By Pete Spotts


Washington - A long-term retreat in snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere is weakening the ability of these seasonal cloaks of white to reflect sunlight back into space and cool global climate, according to a study published this week.

Indeed, over the past 30 years, the cooling effect from this so-called cryosphere – essentially areas covered by snow and ice at least part of the year – appears to have weakened at more than twice the pace projected by global climate models, the research team conducting the work estimates.

The study, which appeared online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, represents a first cut at trying to calculate from direct measurements the impact of climate change on the Northern Hemisphere's cryosphere. The study was conducted by a team of federal and university scientists who examined data gathered between 1979 and 2008. more

EPA presents plan on greenhouse gases

Wednesday 05 January 2011 at 10:38 pm By Mark Clayton


Washington - Setting the stage for a New Year battle royal between Congress and the White House over greenhouse gas emissions, the US Environmental Protection Agency Thursday laid out a timetable for the nation's largest carbon emitters – power plants and refineries – to begin curbing those pollutants.

Republicans have said all year that they plan to pull out all the stops to keep the EPA from phasing in greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations beginning in 2011, saying they would damage the energy industry, raise prices, and cost jobs.

Rep. Fred Upton (R) of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has said he opposes the regulations on greenhouse gases and indicated he would lead efforts to revoke EPA regulations in the next Congress. The new regulations, he says, will likely lead to the shut down of coal-fired power plants.

"To protect jobs and fortify our energy security, we should be working to bring more power online, not shutting plants down," Mr. Upton said in a statement. "We are woefully unprepared to meet our nation's growing energy demands, yet this administration's 'none of the above' energy policy will do nothing but cost jobs, make energy more expensive, and increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy."

Environmentalists lauded the EPA's move. more

Supreme Court takes global warming case that targets power companies

Monday 13 December 2010 at 03:21 am By Warren Richey,


Washington - The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a major environmental lawsuit that seeks to force six electric power companies to cap and reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

The lawsuit - filed in 2004 by eight states, the City of New York, and three land trusts - targets what it claims are the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States and among the largest in the world.

It seeks a judicial order declaring that the fossil-fueled power plants are a "public nuisance." It also seeks a judicial order capping the plants' greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the plants to adopt a schedule of reduced emissions in future years. more

Outside Cancun climate conference, Caribbean Sea testifies to global warming

Monday 13 December 2010 at 03:09 am By Ezra Fieser,


Bayahibe, Dominican Republic - This summer's extreme heat may seem like a distant memory as winter approaches the United States.

But the summer that broke heat records across the Northern Hemisphere is still being felt below the surface of the Caribbean Sea: 2010 will likely be one of the most deadly years on record for coral reefs.

If diplomats attending the two-week global climate change talks that opened Monday in Cancun, Mexico, want more evidence of the negative and potentially devastating affects of warming temperatures, they need look no further than the blue sea outside their hotels. Researchers say that throughout the Caribbean coral reefs are "bleaching," a condition that occurs when they are under extreme stress due to warmer-than-normal sea temperatures. more