While other states, including Florida, Oklahoma, Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri and Arizona, have rejected, cancelled or put on hold plans to build new coal gasification plants, Indiana continues to expand its coal mining, producing, burning and pollution output.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission last week approved the operation of a new coal facility in Southern Indiana. Duke Energy requested, and was granted, a decision before the end of November on the construction of the plant that it has touted as a “clean-coal” facility, despite the opposition by environmental and consumer groups. In a statement released after the IURC approval, John Blair, president of Valley Watch, expressed the disappointment of the opponents, and the basis of their concerns.
“It seems that Indiana will be forced by our own government to stay in the 20th century when it comes to energy. Such a huge investment in coal will serve to stifle better investment in efficiency, and renewable forms of energy in this state, which will leave us behind the rest of the world that is seeking to find solutions for global warming instead if exacerbating it,” according to Blair.
Valley Watch is also concerned that Indiana Gov. Daniels will now follow through on his plan to make Southwest Indiana an energy sacrifice zone for the rest of the nation since he has proposed other coal facilities to expand what is already the largest concentration of coal-fired power plants in the world.
Citizens Action Coalition also released a statement opposing the new plant. “Governor Daniels may want this plant, but homeowners throughout Duke’s service territory will pay dearly. The fact is that Wall Street will not invest in such a risky plant unless Duke has government subsidies and a blank check from ratepayers to cover any and all costs.”