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Proposed Coal Plant Faces More Opposition

September 7, 2007

St. Paul, MN - Opponents of a proposed coal plant in South Dakota are asking the Public Utilities Commission not to grant permission to build power lines across Minnesota for the proposed "Big Stone Two" power plant. Beth Goodpaster, with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, filed the brief.

"The Big Stone utilities have failed to show that it is in the public interest to build a new source of global warming pollution on the edge of Minnesota, at a time when we need to be reducing our global warming emissions."

The proposed 630-megawatt coal plant would be just west of Ortonville. Goodpaster notes that most of the pollutants and toxic emissions would blow into Minnesota. She also says a coal plant goes against the state's policy to develop and promote renewable fuels.

"It is a huge source of new greenhouse gas emissions which, from this kind of old-school coal plant, cannot be controlled. This is the opposite direction we need to be going in, as a society."

Plant proponents say they'll work to reduce mercury pollution and offset greenhouse gas emissions, and that the facility would offer affordable energy to rural Minnesota. A law judge panel has recommended the Public Utilities Commission approve transmission line permits. Goodpastor represents five environmental groups who say the decision was wrong, because it didn't factor in the state's strict, new renewable energy policy.

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Jim Wishner/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MN