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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We Energies ponders Valley plant's future

From an article by Thomas Content in the Milwaukeee Journal Sentinel:

Stricter EPA pollution rules leading to changes

We Energies managers expect to decide this year how the utility will clean up the Menomonee Valley power plant to comply with new environmental rules.

The Milwaukee power company is studying whether to add pollution controls at the downtown plant or to convert the plant to burn natural gas.

A coalition of health and environmental groups plans a petition drive calling on the company to make changes more rapidly.

The Valley plant has come under fire because it is the only large utility plant the company operates in Wisconsin that hasn't been outfitted with state-of-the-art pollution scrubbers or shut down.

As part of a federal court settlement resolving alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, the state's largest utility has added pollution controls to power plants in Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie, and converted its oldest coal plant in Port Washington to burn natural gas.

The Cleaner Valley Coalition has expanded its coalition with the addition of the Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope and the Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light coalition, among others. Other members include the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin.

"We are demanding We Energies to clean up its mess and the Environmental Protection Agency to hold We Energies accountable to meet modern and protective health standards," said Virginia Zerpa, leader of the Cleaner Valley Coalition.

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