Dpt. of Good Ideas: Wisconsin May Shut Down Five Coal Plants

Photo: Sierra Club
The Power Stations are in Violation of Clean Air Regulations
Sadly, sometimes it seems like it takes a lawsuit to make things happen. In 2007, the Sierra Club brought the state of Wisconsin to court over emissions from some state-run coal plants used to provide heat and power to some university buildings and a hospital (UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls and Mendota Mental Health Institute). The Department of Natural Resources sided with the Sierra Club, and the state now has a choice between installing pollution-control equipment to greatly reduce emissions, reducing the use of coal by displacing part of it with other fuels, or simply eliminating the use of coal completely (guess which of those options I prefer).
Photo: The Badger Herald

This is part of a larger story of successful legal attacks on coal plants in Wisconsin:

After being sued by the Sierra Club in 2007, the state signed a consent decree that resulted in the elimination of coal at two state-owned plants: UW-Madison's Charter Street Heating Plant and the Capitol Heating Plant in Downtown Madison. Those changes are expected to cost $275 million.

At the time, the state also agreed to study how to lower emissions at the coal-fired plant at Waupun -- which serves Waupun, Dodge and Burke correctional institutions -- and other state-owned buildings in the area.

Friday, Morgan announced that plant also will stop using coal. He said eliminating coal at those three plants will cut the state's use of the fuel, which emits greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, by 65 percent. (source)

The five next planst to be reviewed are at UW campuses in Platteville, Stevens Point, Menomonie and Superior, and the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh.

Few things are more beneficial for ecosystems and people than reducing coal use. It's the worst source of air pollution (including heavy metals and radioactivity) and greenhouse gases.

For more details on the Sierra Club's anti-coal campaign in Wisconsin, check out this page.

Via Wisconsin State Journal
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Tags: Air Pollution | Energy | Wisconsin