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Dec. 8,  2005
Missouri Sierra Club Responds to Decision on Springfield Utilities Appeal Decision by Missouri Air Conservation Commission

CONTACT: Carla Klein, 573-999-7667
Linda Chipperfield, 417-861-2648

Springfield, MO – The construction permit program reflects a delicate balance between allowing economic development and protecting public health and the environment. Sources may obtain permits to construct new polluting facilities  but only if they satisfy two overarching requirements. First, they must demonstrate that their emissions will not cause unacceptable impacts to air quality. Second, they must reduce their emissions by employing the “best available control technology” (BACT).

The Sierra Club, speaking on behalf of the community, testified that the construction permit granted to City Utilities for the construction of a new coal-burning power plant does not employ the best available technology. There are technologies available that would release 90% less sulfur dioxide than what is allowed in the permit.

“We are disappointed”, said Linda Chipperfield, “that the Clean Air Commission did not see this permit for what it is—a poorly researched, poorly written permission slip for CU to build a sub-standard power plant”. Linda is the plaintiff on the appeal and a local Sierra Club representative.

Members of the Power Supply Task Force specifically asked for a plant that has the safest, cleanest, latest technology available. Jack Stack wrote “It is our recommendation that the equipment selected be as environmentally safe as possible” and Norb Bagley said  “Such a facility should incorporate the most recent technology to minimize pollution.” Several others on the Task Force made similar recommendations.

The 2005 Environmental Report Card issued by the Community Partnership warned that particulate matter (soot) in Springfield’s air is already getting close to non-attainment. That means that we can look forward to yellow and orange air pollution alerts similar to St. Louis and Kansas City. The proposed plant will put out more particulate than the existing plants.

“The Sierra Club will appeal the decision of the Clean Air Commission” according to Carla Klein, Ozark Chapter Director. “We and other groups like the Citizens for Clean Energy will continue to speak for people who want to keep our air clean. We should not have to choose between our health and affordable electricity”.