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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Alliant power plan draws fire, support

From an article by Craig D. Reber in the Telegraph Herald (Dubuque):

CASSVILLE, Wis. — Now the wait begins.

More than 400 people attended Monday’s Public Service Commission of Wisconsin-hosted public hearing at the Cassville Elementary School gymnasium on Alliant Energy’s application to build a new electric power plant.

Alliant wants to add a 300-megawatt generator - which would produce enough electricity to light 150,000 homes - at the Nelson Dewey Generating Station along the Mississippi River in western Grant County. The company said the plant also will be capable of burning biomass such as switchgrass, corn stalks and wood. Alliant’s alternate site is the Columbia Energy Center, just outside of Portage.

The commission has the authority to approve, deny or modify any proposed electric construction project.

On Monday, the plan attracted supporters and critics. Supporters cite economic development, jobs, and the need for more energy in the state. Opponents cited concerns ranging from health concerns to an increase in pollutants and global warming.

Pam Kleiss, of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Wisconsin, said coal-burning power plants release pollutants that cause a significant challenge to public health.
“The public health care costs are well-documented,” she said.

One of the first speakers was Cassville Village President Louis Okey who was blunt.
“Cassville needs this plant,” he said. “It may not survive if it doesn’t get this plant. There are a lot of places where a plant like this isn’t wanted. There’s overwhelming support here.

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