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Plans For New COAL-fired
Power Plant Near Weston

Plans For New COAL-Fired Power Plant Near Weston

 

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 you?

  • Coal burning power plants generate acid rain chemicals, emit air-borne mercury, exacerbate smog and contribute to global warming. 
  • 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 communities.
  • 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 (40%)

  • 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 contributors

  • 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.

 

Particulate Matter: Coal-burning power plants - major contributors

  • 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 years.
  • EPA is in the process of toughening the standard for particulate emissions.  These new regulations are highly criticized as not being stringent enough.

 

 

Carbon Dioxide:  Power plants -36% of US CO2 emissions - #1 global warming gas

        Every year, it becomes clearer that global warming is real and is being caused by human activities.

  • Most agree America will soon adopt federal laws limiting carbon from power plants.

Electricity Rate Increases:

  • KCP&L has been given approval for a 20% rate increase to pay for the plant - shifting the risk from shareholders to ratepayers
  • 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 power?

 

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!

KCP&L's Comprehensive Plan

 

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 Rules.
  • 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 floodplain.
  • 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 energy

 

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 controls.

 

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.



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