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Air Pollution Worries Over Remaining Ethanol Plant Proposal

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 By Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Contact
December 4, 2006

Des Moines, IA - After concerns were raised over the environmental hazards that would result from a coal-fired ethanol plant located in Des Moines, the company withdrew the idea from consideration. That leaves only a natural gas-fired plant on the table for the City Council to vote on tonight. Neila Seaman, with the Sierra Club of Iowa, says the remaining Vision Fuels proposal includes burning trash to reduce the need for natural gas.

"Sierra Club may oppose this new proposal depending on Vision Fuels' definition of 'trash.' We definitely would oppose any efforts to use municipal solid waste as a fuel source."

Seaman was one of the many citizens to express concerns about using coal to make ethanol.

"Des Moines' air will be a lot cleaner without a coal-fired ethanol plant. The mercury contamination from a coal-powered ethanol plant will also be eliminated without the plant operating in Des Moines."

Seaman isn't convinced a trash-burning combustion process has been developed that doesn't produce unacceptable levels of hazardous emissions.

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