Friday, June 08, 2007

New Midland Coal-Fired Power Plant : A Giant Step in the Wrong Direction

Michigan desperately needs jobs and will need more energy in the future, but at a time when we now know that fossil fuels are destroying our planet why would anyone even suggest building a huge coal-fired power plant in Central Michigan?

Does Michigan look that stupid and desperate to out-of-staters looking to make some big bucks?

Apparently, it does. While an Irish company is getting ready to build a modern wind farm in Texas that will save hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, here in Central Michigan we are getting ready to dump that many tons and more of greenhouse gases into our already polluted atmosphere.

It is not surprising that our area's largest water and air polluter, the Dow Chemical Company, would have a hand in this fiasco. A good chunk of the land on Midland's south side for the proposed 750MW coal-fired power plant is owned by Dow. A partnership between a New Jersey firm, LS Power Group, and a Texas company, Dynegy, Inc., is planning to build the $1.3 billion project they say would create more than 1,000 construction jobs and another 100 jobs to run the plant. They claim the site is a good one because rail to transport the coal is available and major electric transmission lines to feed the power to the grid are nearby.

But what they don't say is coal-fired power plants are the wrong direction for our state, nation and planet to be heading. Renewable energy from wind and solar makes much more sense if we are really serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving our planet.

Although the new coal-fired power plants will be less polluting than Michigan's existing coal-fired power plants, they will still require huge costs in energy simply to transport the fuel to the site. Midland does not sit atop a coal mine.

Gov. Granholm understands the problem. She has ordered Michigan's coal-fired power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% in nine years.

Her plans call for new investments in Michigan to make the state a magnet for renewable energy technology and development.

A huge coal-fired plant in Midland is not the right direction for Central Michigan or America to be heading.


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