Planned coal plant in Norborne contested
November 14, 2007
A broad coalition of citizen, health, religious, labor, energy and environmental groups from throughout Missouri yesterday announced their opposition to Associated Electric Cooperative Inc's (AECI) planned coal-burning power plant in Norborne, MO and their support for clean and renewable energy sources for Missouri's future. The announcement preceded testimony at a public hearing held later that day by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) in the Goppert Community Center in Norborne, a community on Route 10 in Carroll County. The groups joined forces to demonstrate their support for Missouri's Clean Energy Future and explain why a massive coal plant proposed for Missouri is not in the long-term best interests of the health of the state's citizens, the state's economy, and its environment.

In addition to thousands of tons of toxic ozone and smog pollution, the plant would emit 6.8 million tons of global warming causing carbon dioxide (CO2 ) per year [1]. That's over 340 million tons over the next 50 years, the likely lifespan of the facility. The CO2 emitted by the plant each year is the equivalent of adding nearly 1.2 million new cars onto the state's highways.

"Coal-fired power plants emit very high volumes of pollutants that are leading causes of respiratory and cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Michael McCally, executive director for Physicians for Social Responsibility. "Not only do these pollutants cause significant harm to the lungs and heart during prolonged exposure, they have an immediate effect on children, the elderly and those with respiratory disease. Residents of Missouri would not be immune to these pollutants."

After the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in April declaring global warming pollution is harmful to our health and the environment the state has an obligation to reject the Norborne coal plant. "We are asking the state to follow the lead of states like Oklahoma, Florida and most recently Kansas and reject the permit for this new coal plant because of the serious health, economic and environmental threats it poses," said Henry Robertson, energy chair for the Missouri Sierra Club. "Missouri should invest in clean alternatives instead of new coal."

To reduce the worst impacts of global warming, including severe droughts, scientists tell us that we need to reduce our global warming emissions 80% by 2050—an achievable 2% a year. But we have no hope of meeting this challenge if we continue to build coal-burning power plants.

Missouri gets 86% [2] of its electricity from burning coal, among the highest percentage in the nation. In 1999, approximately 73.5 million tons of CO2 was emitted by Missouri power plants, an increase of more than 20 million tons from this source in 1990 [3]. MDNR has permitted two additional coal-burning power plants in the past two years (KCPL Iatan 2 and City Utilities-Springfield) increasing Missouri's CO 2 power plant emissions to approximately 81.7 million tons per year. Adding the CO2 emissions from the proposed Norborne plant increases emissions to approximately 88.5 million tons/year, a 65% increase from 1990 coal plant emissions. Clearly we are moving in the wrong direction.

Missouri ranks 46th in the nation for energy efficiency [4]. "If we focus on increasing efficiency—which is the simplest, cheapest way to meet our energy needs—we can make the Norborne plant unnecessary, save money on our electric bills, protect our health and the environment, and create good jobs in Missouri," said Melissa Hope of Missouri Sierra Club.

"Another huge coal plant is not only bad for the health of Missourians, it is also the wrong choice for our economy," said Emil Ramirez, assistant to the director, United Steel Workers District 11. "The good news is that Missouri can become a leader in clean energy development, reducing our dependence on coal, boosting our economy and helping to fight global warming. Investing in efficiency and renewable energy technologies today could create over 22,500 clean, good-paying jobs in Missouri." [5]


[2] Energy Information Administration,
[3] Missouri Action Options for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, July 2002,
[5] Missouri's Road to Energy Independence, Blue Green Alliance

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If not now, when and how?joeh111502007-11-16 13:56:01