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For Immediate Release: March 29, 2005
  
SIERRA CLUB Slams Backroom Deal Between KCPL, Office of Public Counsel and PSC Staff

Late last night Kansas City Power and Light, KCPL, the Office of Public Counsel and several large industrial firms finalized a deal that will increase rates and harm public health. Now they are trying to get the State Public Service Commission to bless this deal.

"This backroom deal is bad for ratepayers and the air we breathe, said Wallace McMullen, Sierra Club Energy Chair said. “The safest, cleanest way to meet our energy needs is with electrical efficiency. Instead, this back-room deal will cost ratepayers $1.3 billion for a new coal-burning power plant, and increase rates. The Public Service Commission should reject this deal in favor of cleaner, safer alternatives. States such as Nevada and Vermont are meeting their needs for electric service with  lower cost, healthier choices. Missouri should do the same.”

The Office of Public Counsel, Public Service Commission staff, and big industrial firms have been holding meetings in Jefferson City behind a veil of secrecy for the past six months. “The Sierra Club and Concerned Citizens of Platte County, trying to represent the broader interests of the citizens of Missouri, have been essentially shut out of the process." said Kathleen Henry, attorney with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center representing Sierra Club.

No hearings were held in the Kansas City area while the agreement was being finalized.

“The human health costs of building another outdated coal-burning power plant are enormous," said McMullen. “At greatest risk are children and the elderly. Every waterbody in Missouri has a health advisory for fish because of mercury pollution, most of which come from existing coal-fired power plants. This deal will increase mercury pollution and take Missouri backwards at a time we need to reduce mercury. Kansas City will be locked in to unhealthy, expensive, polluting technology for the next 50 years."

“If this plant is built, both the pollution and the higher costs will hurt the KC region in the future,” said Kathleen Henry. “The citizens of Missouri have not been well served by this process. This semi-secret agreement does not materially differ from the intentions KCP&L made public last summer, and despite all their talk of 'input,’ they have not seriously considered other alternatives."

Contacts:

Kathleen Henry
Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
705 Olive Street, Suite 614
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
(314) 231-4181

Bruce Nilles
Sierra Club Senior Representative
214 N. Henry
Madison WI 53703
608-257-4994

Melissa Blakley
Sierra Club - Ozark Chapter
Development Associate
melissa.blakley@sierraclub.org
Work cell (573) 999-7388
Chapter office (573) 815-9250