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Judge to WI Power Plant: “Cool It Down”

November 30, 2007

Oak Creek, WI – State environmental groups are calling it a major victory for Lake Michigan. A judge ruled yesterday that an Oak Creek power plant needs to "cool it down," in a lawsuit over a water discharge pipe at a We Energy coal plant under construction. Wisconsin Judge William Coleman ruled the plant must obey the standards for new power plants, and he required more up-to-date technology for cooling the water that's pumped back into Lake Michigan.

Katie Nekola with Clean Wisconsin says the system currently under construction is outdated, and would have done serious damage.

"It is a technology that has been banned in Illinois, Indiana and several other states for many years, because it's so destructive to fish and other aquatic life."

Nekola says the impact of the decision will be felt far beyond the Lake Michigan shore.

"This is a really important precedent for other plants. People are watching this decision around the country, it has national significance for cooling water intake systems for power plants everywhere."

The company has argued that the water system is safe, and helps cut air pollution. The original suit was filed jointly, by Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WI