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Settlement won't reduce pollution

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Readers of HCN’s excellent story on the effort to bring more clean, renewable energy to the West might think that the settlement agreement on the proposed coal plant in Pueblo, Colo., will somehow reduce pollution (HCN, 5/02/05: The Winds of Change). While it is true that the agreement will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, if the proposed new coal plant is built, Pueblo, the state of Colorado and the entire planet will be the recipients of massive amounts of new pollution. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, the plant could emit over 8 million pounds per year of carbon monoxide, over 1 million pounds per year of particulates, over 250,000 pounds per year of sulfuric acid mist, over 30,000 pounds per year each of hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride, over 200 pounds per year each of chromium, manganese, nickel and benzene and over 100 pounds per year of mercury. All of this is on top of the over 6 million tons of carbon dioxide the plant will emit until the year 2060 under Xcel’s plan.

What’s more, the electricity isn’t even intended for use by Pueblo. It would be shipped north on a massive transmission line for use in Denver, Boulder and other parts of Xcel’s territory. Pueblo is already an environmental justice community. There is no need to bathe it in a sea of unnecessary pollution when Colorado has abundant clean energy resources to tap.

Leslie Glustrom
Boulder, Colorado

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