Article

Group gathering signatures on petition opposing power plant

Others at the meeting advocated wind power as an alternative. Bob Quinn, the developer of the 135-megawatt Judith Gap wind farm, said he believes a 250-megawatt wind project would cost about $300 million, or $215 million less than the coal plant.

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Great Falls group is collecting signatures on a petition to oppose a coal-fired power plant being built east of here.

About 60 people attended a meeting Wednesday night at the Great Falls College of Technology to learn more about environmental concerns surrounding the proposed 250-megawatt Highwood Generating Station.

‘‘It is our goal to come up with a better alternative for energy in the community,’’ said Pamela Morris, a retired teacher who helped organize the meeting.

No plant officials attended the meeting, at which several speakers discussed concerns about mercury emissions and greenhouse gases.

Proponents of the $515 million plant have said technology planned at the Highwood Station will make it the cleanest coal-fired plant in the state because it will produce less mercury, sulfur dioxide and other toxic emissions than other, older coal plants.

Speakers at the Wednesday meeting disagree. Cheryl Reichert, a pathologist and biochemist in Great Falls, said the technology proposed at the Highwood Generating Station, known as a circulating fluidized bed or CFB technology, is about 20 years old.

Several speakers said developers need to look at a system known as ‘‘... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Great Falls group is collecting signatures on a petition to oppose a coal-fired power plant being built east of here.

About 60 people attended a meeting Wednesday night at the Great Falls College of Technology to learn more about environmental concerns surrounding the proposed 250-megawatt Highwood Generating Station.

‘‘It is our goal to come up with a better alternative for energy in the community,’’ said Pamela Morris, a retired teacher who helped organize the meeting.

No plant officials attended the meeting, at which several speakers discussed concerns about mercury emissions and greenhouse gases.

Proponents of the $515 million plant have said technology planned at the Highwood Station will make it the cleanest coal-fired plant in the state because it will produce less mercury, sulfur dioxide and other toxic emissions than other, older coal plants.

Speakers at the Wednesday meeting disagree. Cheryl Reichert, a pathologist and biochemist in Great Falls, said the technology proposed at the Highwood Generating Station, known as a circulating fluidized bed or CFB technology, is about 20 years old.

Several speakers said developers need to look at a system known as ‘‘integrated gasification combined cycle’’ or IGCC technology, which they say produces fewer emissions and does not add to greenhouse gases.

Anne Hedges, program director with the Helena-based Montana Environmental Information Center, said it is critical that if Montanans pursue coal for energy, citizens must demand the developers look at the feasibility of an IGCC operation.

Officials with the Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, which is developing the plant, have said IGCC isn’t reliable enough to be considered. There are two IGCC plants in the country.

Others at the meeting advocated wind power as an alternative.

Bob Quinn, the developer of the 135-megawatt Judith Gap wind farm, said he believes a 250-megawatt wind project would cost about $300 million, or $215 million less than the coal plant.

‘‘The discussion should be ’what kind of power plant,’’’ he said.

Mercury emissions from the proposed coal plant dominated much of the discussion.

The Highwood project recently received its draft air quality permit from the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The draft permit mandates 90 percent mercury removal on a rolling 12-month average. While plant proponents have said the plant would emit about 22 pounds of mercury per year, the draft permit allows up to 46 pounds per year, Hedges said.

Mercury can cause problems in developing fetuses. The toxin has filtered into waterways worldwide and contaminated fish.

Hedges said the plant will emit the carbon dioxide equivalent of nearly 353,000 vehicles per year.

The plant’s developers have said they are looking at planting trees, which remove carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis.


Source: http://www.helenair.com/art...

APR 21 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2249-group-gathering-signatures-on-petition-opposing-power-plant
back to top