December 29, 2005
Missourians Could be Saddled with Unneeded Power Plants
Sierra Club Questions Expanding the Electricity Supply, Calls for Conservation
The Ozark (MO) Chapter of the Sierra Club recently criticized plans to construct large coal-fired power plants near Kansas City and Springfield. Such plans may be motivated by large subsidies to coal producers and electric utilities under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Carbon dioxide output from those plants would significantly add to greenhouse gases that are heating and disrupting the worlds climate, and add to mercury pollution of Missouris air and water. We hope that Governor Blunts new Missouri Energy Task Force will look carefully at all costs and benefits of various energy sources, said Carla Klein, Ozark Chapter Director.
Klein also noted that Governor Blunts Executive Order does not explicitly direct the Task Force to
use energy conservation to offset future energy needs. While the Governor has previously encouraged the use of efficient light bulbs, he should also tell the Task Force to promote efficiency in services like heating, cooling, and refrigeration.
The Task Force should not say business as usual to entrenched interests. Convincing cases have not been made for additional coal-fired plants. Construction of an additional nuclear reactor near Fulton should also be avoided, because of grave concerns about waste disposal and security. Safer alternatives, including wind power, are progressing in surrounding states.
Missouri has lagged far behind in developing clean, renewable energy sources.
The Ozark Chapter commends Governor Blunt for appointing the Missouri Energy Task Force. However, to fully realize this opportunity, the Task Force should be open to broad input. Much information is already available in the 2003 Governors Energy Policy Council report. The future lies much more in efficiency -- the "demand side" -- than in added generating capacity -- the "supply side." explains Wallace McMullen, Ozark Chapter Energy chair. A Missouri that is energy efficient will be far more competitive in the global economy -- and have healthier citizens.