Sunday, April 20, 2008

Des Moines Register: Marshalltown Coal Plant is Not the Right Course for Iowa

The Des Moines Register Editorial Board came out today against the proposed coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown.

Today, the editorial board has concluded that building a coal-fired plant in Marshalltown is not now the right course for Iowa. The right course would place far greater emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable sources of generation, particularly wind. For power plants, it would encourage a harder look at natural gas, which emits much less carbon dioxide, and would specify that any new "cleaner-burning coal plants" must be able, at least on the near horizon, to capture and sequester carbon dioxide.

But this moment of decision for Iowa shouldn't be just about this particular plant. It offers a time for Iowa to look itself in the mirror and decide what kind of energy-producing-and-consuming state it wants to be in an entirely different era for energy.

Will Iowa lead or follow at a time when the health of the planet may be in peril and when the availability and price of clean energy may starkly define economic fates? Will it simply meet federal regulations when required, burning fossil fuels as much as it can, as long as it can? Or will it chart a course to conserve electricity, generate more of it from renewable sources and, through its innovation and leadership, create new jobs, new businesses and new opportunities?

This is about image, too. Iowa has led the way in developing the biofuels and wind industries - and enjoyed more jobs and growth as a result. A new coal plant without carbon capture doesn't build a clean-energy reputation.
The Register provided in-depth coverage of the pros and cons of the coal plant the past week. You can read their coverage here.

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