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Monday, March 29, 2010

Rothschild biomass plant won't be 'monster' pollution source

From an article by Robert Imrie in the Wausau Daily Herald:

ROTHSCHILD -- A proposed power plant that would burn wood to generate electricity and steam would be a "monster" source of pollution, causing neighbors to suffer from asthma and lung cancers, organizers of an effort to kill the project said Thursday.

The planned $255 million We Energies plant on the grounds of the Domtar paper mill along Business Highway 51 would burn waste wood to power the mill and generate electricity for consumers. View gallery

"We don't want to be their guinea pigs," Paul Schwantes told about 150 people packed into a room at the Village Hall, urging them to contact local political leaders. "This is a call to action. Tell them you do not want this project in our backyard."

Schwantes said he was disappointed that only about 150 people in a village of 5,000 turned out to get more information about a "huge issue" in town. . . .

We Energies has applied to the state Public Service Commission to build Wisconsin's first biomass plant in Rothschild. A decision is expected by the end of the year, said Brian Manthey, a spokesman for the Milwaukee-based utility.

The project would allow We Energies, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corp., to comply with a state mandate that 10 percent of Wisconsin's electricity come from renewable sources by 2015.

In a telephone interview after the meeting Thursday, Manthey said the plant should not produce any more risk of asthma or lung cancers in the village, because the emissions will fall "well under" the state Department of Natural Resources standards for clean air.

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