Protests Against Power Plant

9 years 2 weeks 6 days ago November 14, 2007 Nov 14, 2007 Wednesday, November 14 2007 Wednesday, November 14, 2007 2:50:40 PM CST in News

But some locals think the protesters should just leave the town alone and maybe leave the town as well.

Associated Electric Cooperative plans to build a coal-burning power plant west of Norborne. It would the be the 20th plant in the state and environmental groups say that is just too many.

"From smog to mercury to carbon dioxide, coal-fired power plants are one of the largest sources of dangerous air pollution in the United States," explained Melissa Hope of the Missouri Sierra Club.

The protesters say adding more plant exhaust could harm the area's fish, and in turn, the food supply.

"We cannot continue to add toxic mercury, beryllium, and cadmium to our streams and waterways," said Jill Dewitt from the Burroughs Audubon Society.

Those against the plant marched to a public hearing in Norborne, where they faced opposition from the local cooperative. The co-op says coal is the only way to make electricity affordable.

"With nearly 50 percent of the households we serve earning less than $40,000 a year, and one out of five of our cooperative members earning less than $20,000 a year, we think this is the best option for our member-owners," said Brent Ross of the Associated Electric Cooperative.

Some in Norborne believe the Department of Natural Resources needs to allow the plant's building because it's the only way to have a reliable source of power.

"Until such time that affordable technological advances are made in the area of renewable energy sources that can provide sufficient energies for economic growth, we need a reliable, affordable way of providing this energy," said retired electrical inspector, Robert Griffin.

Protesters want other forms of energy, such as wind and solar, to be considered, but the co-op says that would not generate enough energy to meet Norborne's needs.

The Department of Natural Resources still has to consider all of the written and e-mailed comments not heard at the public hearing. The DNR will make their decision in 60 to 90 days.

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