Here’s yet another story that Dad pointed out:
Environmentalists and the state of Illinois are lining up against a proposal to construct a mammoth coal-burning power plant on the shores of Lake Michigan, warning it will pollute the air and water across the Midwest and set off a “coal rush” to build more such projects around the country.
The project is actually a $2.15 billion expansion of a 1950s-era plant in this Milwaukee suburb 80 miles north of Chicago. The resulting complex would produce enough electricity for 615,000 homes, burn 1.5 million tons of coal a year, and draw 2.2 billion gallons of water from the lake each day, or almost as much as Chicago and 100 of its suburbs use.
The plant’s operator, We Energies, and the state Public Service Commission, which approved the project, say that it is the cheapest and best way to meet growing power needs in the busy Milwaukee-Chicago corridor and that the project complies with all environmental regulations.
Environmentalists would rather see a cleaner-burning natural gas plant, or at least a project that uses more advanced coal technology.
Once again, a power company demonstrates that “cheap” means ignoring externalities of pollution and public health. I’d certainly like to see these environmental groups, though, take an even stronger position than natural gas or advanced coal technology, as production is declining rapidly with the former, and the latter, no matter how “clean,” still requires dirty and unsafe mining practices.