April 8, 2008
MADISON - The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and Clean Wisconsin asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) to deny an application by We Energies to add equipment costing $830 million to four 1960s-era coal-fired power plants. If the PSC does not deny the application, the groups proposed an alternative that would save ratepayers $100 million and at the same time provide major environmental benefits.
We Energies is requesting that customers pay for the equipment at the four Oak Creek boilers because it is required to comply with a legal settlement it reached in 2003 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We Energies was under investigation for violations of the Clean Air Act at several of its plants for undertaking major modifications and increasing air pollution without also installing required pollution control equipment.
"Spending almost a billion dollars of customers' money to retrofit all these ancient boilers with pollution controls doesn't make economic or environmental sense," said Katie Nekola, an attorney with Clean Wisconsin. "This project would not adequately control mercury emissions and would do nothing to stop their global warming pollution." Coal-fired power plants are a primary source of global warming pollution.
CUB and Clean Wisconsin asked the PSC to consider the alternative of allowing the utility to install the equipment on the two newest and largest units, while retiring the two older units. "Shutting down the two oldest coal burners would save customers at least $100 million, money that customers can use to pay for ever-increasing health care, food, school, and energy costs," said Charlie Higley, CUB executive director. "This alternative offers the best solution for customers and for Wisconsin's environment."
The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service. CUB represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before regulatory agencies and the courts.
Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin's clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and corporations accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin's Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses.