A Cedar Rapids-based environmental advocacy group has submitted testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board opposing the plans for construction of a coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown. Carrie La Seur is the president of Plains Justice, and says they represent a coalition of Iowa organizations.
La Seur says the Farmer’s Union is one group, which is concerned about displacing renewable energy sources and a new source of income, to local people who are concerned about air quality issues. La Seur says they don’t think a new coal plant moves in the right direction. She says there’s a lot of concern that Iowa instead of reigning in carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions is actually increasing them.
La Seur says it seems like a contradiction to build the coal plant at a time when the state is moving toward more renewable energy. Alliant Energy’s Iowa Light and Power subsidiary is proposing the plant, and officials say it would be the cleanest coal fired electric plant built in the state. La Seur says the claim doesn’t mean much.
La Seur says being the cleanest plant only means that it will be legal, because the Clean Air Act requires companies to use the best technology available. La Suer says there are still pollution concerns even with the new technology. La Seur says the term "clean coal" is being used, and it describes the new plants that can capture C-O-2 and store it, but she says the proposed new plant doesn’t do that.
La Seur says there are also concerns about mercury generated from the plant and the impact that mercury will have on the environment. The Iowa Utilities Board will hold public hearings on the proposed new plant starting January 14th in Marshalltown.