Protest sticker from the proposed coal power plant construction in Waterloo, Iowa in 2007. This stick shows three smoke stacks emitting smog into the air with “Coal Plant NO” written below. The address “email@example.com is printed on the bottom.Coal-Fired Power Plant Blocked in Iowa
From the news outlet:
DES MOINES, Iowa, October 15, 2007 (ENS) - Opponents of a new coal-fired power plant proposed in Waterloo, including the Sierra Club and the Iowa Farmers Union, celebrated a victory Thursday when a state panel rejected the City of Waterloo's request to annex land for the plant.
The City Development Board decided that the annexation of land owned by residents who oppose the annexation did not meet the state guidelines for approval. Hundreds of citizens protested the annexation at a hearing in September.
LS Power is proposing the $1.5 billion, 750-megawatt plant to serve up to 500,000 homes, some of which may be out of the state.
"It was clear that this annexation was not in the public interest," said Carole Yates of the Cedar Prairie Group of the Sierra Club. "Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of global warming in the country and this proposal was a collection of worst practices - for our energy system, for our economy, for the environment, and for our community."
The annexation proposal came before the City Development Board because a landowner, retired farmer Merle Bell, is standing against the plant. Last month more than 500 people rallied at Bell's farm in support of Bell and against LS Power. His farm has been in his family for more than a century.
"I've lived on this land all my life," says Bell. "I promised my father I'd never sell the farm and I don't want to sell."
Bell was joined in opposing the annexation and development of the site by neighbor Phyllis Morgan and 17 farmers who are opposed to plans for transmission lines across their land.
The farmers' resistance attracted the attention of Iowa Farmers Union, which officially opposes the plant. "We have concluded that farmers benefit more from farm-based renewable energy than from giant new coal plants. We consider plants like this a threat to a sustainable, farm-based rural economy," said Gregg Heide of Pomeroy, board member of Iowa Farmers Union.
Sierra Club and the citizen advocacy group, Community Energy Solutions, represented by nonprofit law firm Plains Justice, filed briefs against the proposal.
"This is the beginning of the end for LS Power in Iowa," said Sierra Club organizer Mark Kresowik. "States across the country are recognizing the dangers of overdependence on coal and have rejected new plants. It's time for Governor Culver to truly embrace energy efficiency and renewable energy and say no to more dirty coal."
The lack of annexation approval may not mean the end for this project as the city can reapply with a different configuration of land to be annexed.
LS Power Project Manager Mark Milburn said the vote does not derail the project, which could go on even without annexation. But the utility wants to pay taxes to the city, and it makes sense to add the land to the already developed nearby industrial park, he said.
Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Idaho, and California have rejected new coal plants in favor of cleaner energy options in the past 12 months.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.