A bill easing regulations so new power plants will be built in Iowa will be debated in the Iowa House this week. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says by 2007, Iowa’s demand for power will outstrip the current supply, so a plant will have to be built somewhere.House Democrat Leader Dick Myers of Iowa City says the bill’s a back-door way to deregulate electric utilities.Myers says utility experts tell him if nothing’s done, Iowa’s existing power grid won’t run into California-style blackouts for six or seven years.A powerful lobbying group is lining up against the bill. The American Association for Retired Persons says if enacted, the changes may result in higher electricity rates for consumers and damage to Iowa’s environment.Also last week, Alliant Energy’s president said his company may build a new power plant in Iowa if the bill does pass.The U-S Energy Secretary said this past week that nuclear power plants should be built to help resolve the nation’s electricity crisis. Iowa legislators say it’s unlikely another nuclear plant will be built in Iowa. Myers lives near the state’s only nuclear power plant. He says the plant has a wonderful safety record, but they have trouble dealing with the nuclear waste.Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says natural gas or coal power plants are more likely to be built in Iowa.Next week, the Iowa House will begin debate on a bill that eases the regulations for building new power plants in Iowa.
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