Coal Fired Power Plant Could be in Ohio's Future

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On one side, there's Cleveland Public Power, which wants the city to join with other communities in building a large coal power plant in Meigs County. It's to be built by American Municipal Power-Ohio, which provides electricity to dozens of nonprofit city power companies in the state. They say it will keep prices stable and low for the 50 years the plant is likely to operate. On the other side are environmentalists and others who are concerned that the plant uses outdated coal-burning technology that contributes to poor health and global warming.

Ivan Henderson is Cleveland Public Power's commissioner. He says no coal plant will spell the end of CPP.

HENDERSON: Coal has been the basis of CPP's low rates for over 100 years, and if we're not allowed to use coal in our portfolio mix, then we have to use all those other sources, and those other sources are more expensive, and then our customers wouldn't stay with us, so there would be no CPP.

Environmentalists disagree, though. They say legislation will ultimately mandate cleaner technology or penalize coal plants in years to come. That, they say, will end up costing CPP and its customers much more money. Nolan Moser is a law fellow at the Ohio Environmental Council.

MOSER: Cleveland wants to save Cleveland Public Power and rightfully so. We're all worried about the danger of inaction. But the danger of action, with regard to this plant, is far greater.

Moser recommends building a cleaner coal-gasification plant that competing companies have opted for.

With hours of testimony, this is clearly not an easy decision for the committee and its chairman Matt Zone.

ZONE: None of us feel good about a new coal plant firing up. None of us.

The council is likely to decide on the matter in the coming week.

For 90.3 WCPN, I'm Dan Bobkoff.

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