A coalition of environmental groups that opposes the building of a new coal-fired electric plant in Marshalltown is asking the Iowa Utilities Board to dismiss the proposal, saying Alliant Energy withheld information on greenhouse gas emissions during a board hearing on the plant.
Carrie La Seur is a lawyer for Plains Justice, one of the groups that’s against the plant. La Suer says," Our allegation and motion to dismiss is that the coalition’s right, due process right, to review all evidence and to submit it’s own expert testimony and to cross examine IPL witnesses about the whole of their application has been violated."
The group says Alliant and its subsidiary Iowa Power and Light gave out wrong information about plans to shut down a couple of older power plants, and switch another to natural gas to cut emissions. La Suer says their case rests on the amount of greenhouse gas pollution the new plant and the company’s whole electric generation system produce. She says without accurate information about any plans for mitigation, "our case is significantly weakened, it works an injustice on our ability to respond fully to I-P-L’s application."
Alliant Energy spokesman Ryan Stensland responded to the coalition’s claims. "While everyone has an opinion on this particular matter, the environmental extremists positions on this issue are totally false," Stensland says, "you know we have an obligation to serve our customers, and we have an obligation to provide accurate information to the Iowa Utilities board and other regulators that oversee every aspect of our business. And that’s what we have done in the past and we continue to do."
Stensland says the coalition seems to be desperate to come up with something to stop the plant from moving forward. Stensland says,"The claims that they’re making now seem to be a little of a fourth quarter, hail Mary attempt here in this process. We’re very confident in the case that we’ve put forward." Stensland says the company asked the environmental groups to get involved in plans for reducing emissions, and they said no.
Stensland says it’s "a little concerning" when the company says they plan to shut down older less efficient coal fired power plants and the environmental groups are still not happy. "So I don’t know if there is anything short of shutting off all electrical generation that will make them happy," Stensland says. There are still several more steps in the approval process and Stensland says there will be time for public comment on the company’s plans to reduce emissions in March. The Iowa Utilities Board is expected to make a final decision on approving the plant sometime in April.