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March 2, 2006
Press Release: Sierra Club challenges KCPL dirty air permit
Cleaner Options Available, Group Explains

The Missouri Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club announced today it will challenge the permit issued to Kansas City Power and Light (KCPL) to build an 850 megawatt coal-fired power plant – known as Iatan II – 30 miles northwest of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
"Kansas City already has air pollution problems. This power plant would only make matters worse," said Carla Klein, Chapter Director for the Missouri Sierra Club. "There is certainly no reason for our communities to accept dirty coal power when there are cleaner options available."

Kansas City Power and Light is seeking a permit to emit 2,838 tons of smog forming NOx and 3,193 tons of soot-forming SOx per year, exacerbating already existing air pollution problems in the metropolitan area. The proposed facility would also release 106 tons of toxic hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, which has been linked to a host of neurological disorders in newborns. The impact of the plant would not only be local, but also world-wide, given the more than 8,000,000 tons per year of CO2 emissions the facility would release annually. Such carbon pollution has been strongly linked to global warming.

According to federal and state clean air laws, Kansas City Power and Light must use the "best available control technology" to minimize pollution from the plant and protect public safety. The Sierra Club, which is represented by Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, is challenging the permit because there are cleaner energy technologies on the market. Particularly troubling is that the type of combustion technology proposed in this instance--pulverized coal—lacks any retrofit potential for addressing carbon dioxide emissions.

Iatan II is the first of five proposed new coal-fired power plants along the Missouri River in NW Missouri and NE Kansas. These coal plants threaten to undermine the region’s efforts to develop and implement a 21st Century clean energy future by eliminating any market for new wind farms and aggressive energy efficiency measures.

The Kansas City Metro area suffered 30 exceedances of the 8-hour ozone standard in 2003. Local residents are alarmed that a new major source of ozone precursors is being proposed for an area already exceeding the ozone standard. The Ozark Chapter believes this additional dirty power plant poses long-term health threats for the entire Kansas City region.

"If this plant isn't state-of-the-art when it is built, it certainly won't be state of the art decades from now," said Klein." The people of Kansas City deserve better."