Two coal plants given go-ahead by green groups after concessions negotiated
Environmental groups dropped their opposition to two different coal-fired power plant expansion projects in Wisconsin and Texas this week after the utilities agreed to a range of concessions designed to limit the environmental impacts of the plants. In Texas, power company NRG reached an agreement with Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition and the Environmental Defense Fund that requires the company to offset or sequester half of its carbon dioxide emissions until federal climate legislation is passed; cap the levels of mercury, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide the facility can emit; reduce the coal plant’s use of water by over half, as well as other measures. In Wisconsin, the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin dropped their legal challenges to a coal-fired power plant’s expansion in exchange for utility We Energies agreeing to retire two older coal plants in Michigan by 2012 and agreeing to support legislation increasing Wisconsin’s renewable-energy standard to 25 percent by 2025. “We’ve been fighting for more than seven years … It’s time to put this [plant] behind us and focus on the other ones that are in the pipeline,” said Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club.