KCP&L is permitting
a new 850 MW pulverized coal-burning unit near Weston, MO next
to the current Iatan, MO (670 MW) plant. KCP&L will own 465 MW of the
new unit along with co-owners, Empire District Electric, MO Joint Municipal
Utility Electric Commission, and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative. The new
plant is projected to go in service in 2010.
Why should this matter to
- Coal burning power plants generate acid
rain chemicals, emit air-borne mercury, exacerbate smog and contribute to
- Pollutants generated by these plants are linked
to asthma, lung disease, heart attacks, lung cancer, developmental delays,
birth defects and premature death.
- This plant will draw 8,000 gallons of
water per minute (the water use of 200,000 people) from wells beneath the
Missouri River - possibly drawing down the water table.
- Waste left over from
burning coal will be placed in a landfill on site in the floodplain. The waste contains arsenic, mercury,
lead and other toxins.
Contamination of groundwater is possible and has happened in other
- This plant would emit about 6.8 million
ton/year of the main global warming gas, carbon dioxide - the same emissions
as about 1 million cars.
Mercury: Coal-burning power plants - largest source of mercury air emissions
- Effects on children exposed during pregnancy -
learning disabilities, attention deficits, and motor delays. According to the
EPA, 1 in 6 women of childbearing age have elevated levels of mercury in their
bodies putting 630,000 infants at risk each year.
- The MO Dept. of Health advises pregnant women
and children not to eat certain bass and carp species. The FDA warns against
tilefish, swordfish, shark and king mackerel.
- Consumer Reports advises pregnant women to avoid
canned tuna entirely and to limit consumption by children and women that can
become pregnant due to mercury levels.
- Mercury emissions from power plants were
recently regulated with a highly criticized rule giving them until 2025 to
reduce emissions by only 70%.
Ozone Smog: Coal-burning power plants' major
- Smog can irritate the respiratory system,
aggravate asthma, reduce lung capacity and increase people's susceptibility to
respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis.
- The worst air quality in the Kansas City area is
in the Northland. In 2004, Platte and Clay Counties were given an 'F' grade by
the American Lung Association (ALA) for air quality.
- Ozone smog isn't good for our health or
business. Exceeding federal
standards (as is projected to happen in KC in 2007) costs businesses money in
order to comply with extra regulations.
Coal-burning power plants - major
- Small particles are associated with asthma, lung
disease, heart disease and even premature death.
- Hospital admissions for several
cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases acutely increase in response to higher
PM concentrations. The evidence implicates prolonged exposure to elevated
levels of PM in reducing overall life expectancy by a few
- EPA is in
the process of toughening the standard for particulate emissions. These new regulations are highly
criticized as not being stringent
Carbon Dioxide: Power plants -36% of US CO2
emissions - #1 global warming gas
year, it becomes clearer that global warming is real and is being caused by
- Most agree America will soon adopt federal
laws limiting carbon from power
- KCP&L has been given approval for a 20% rate
increase to pay for the plant - shifting the risk from shareholders to
- Plants like those proposed by KCP&L can't be
retrofit to capture carbon cost effectively. The cost of burning coal will
rise dramatically as carbon is discouraged. Ratepayers will pay for the company's
poor decision since regulators will allow the pass on of these costs.
- The rush to build more coal-burning power plants
- 150 are proposed - is already increasing the cost of coal.
How do we safely generate more
Growth is inevitable, but increased energy usage is not. The well-respected Rocky Mountain
Institute says that with electricity-saving technology currently on the market,
we could cut electricity usage in half. The need for future power can be met
with energy efficiency and renewable sources. Renewables such as Wind and Solar
provide jobs, make tax payments to counties and schools, and create more jobs
than fossil fuels without risking our health. New coal technology, Integrated
Gasification Combined Cycle, is also available that reduces emissions and might
allow for future carbon capture.
We all have
made a difference!
In the face of public outcry to their original plan of twin 850 MW
merchant plants, KCP&L made public their 'Comprehensive Plan'. Their plan would involve only one new
coal plant, certain pollutant reductions at current plants, adding wind energy
and energy efficiency to their portfolio, and promising that the power is for
local use rather than for sale on the wholesale market. We are still concerned:
- Their current plants have
been heavily polluting for many years and reductions are needed, but they
likely will have to lower emissions anyway due to new Clean Air Interstate
- The company promises to keep mercury emissions at the
same level with 2 plants as they are today with one plant - mercury emissions
are too high now and should be reduced
- Particulate emissions
(linked to heart disease) will increase at the Iatan site.
- The plan does not address
the high water usage or possible contamination from the landfill in the
- Carbon Dioxide emissions will double - could lead to
huge rate increases as carbon is limited.
- Safer technology is available but is not being
considered - Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle
- Excess power will be sold on the open market, reducing
incentives for developing Missouri's own clean wind
Where does it stand now?
KCP&L has all the environmental and financial approvals needed to
begin construction. Sierra Club and Concerned Citizens of Platte County have
filed appeals. Injunctions may be
filed to stop initial construction.
If construction begins, the appeals could result in better pollution
Building new conventional coal plants is
unacceptable and emissions from current plants must be reduced. Renewable energy and efficiency can
provide for our future needs, keep electricity rates low, create jobs, and avoid
health risks to our children and ourselves.
Click here to e-mail us at ConcernedCitizens@ccpcmo.org
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