Clean Wisconsin
Press Release

Statement on Proposed Oak Creek Power Plant Coal Pile Expansion

Concerned residents speak out over health, economic impacts of harmful emissions

By - Aug 6th, 2015 12:01 pm
DNR Hearing

DNR Hearing

MILWAUKEE — Today, concerned citizens spoke out over the proposed expansion of the coal storage pile and operations at We Energies’ Oak Creek Power Plant. Of particular concern is the existing particulate matter and coal dust pollution coming from the facility and its open coal piles, which have become a serious health and quality of life issue for area residents. This public hearing was an important opportunity for citizens to tell the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that their health and welfare matters, and that stronger emission controls should be used at the Oak Creek Power Plant to protect Wisconsin’s citizens and its environment.

In regards to the issue, Clean Wisconsin releases the following statement:

“The residents of Oak Creek have put up with preventable coal pollution from the largest coal plant in Wisconsin for many years. DNR should now require We Energies to use better pollution prevention measures than the company has proposed to improve air quality and safeguard the health of local citizens,” says Matt Landi, science and policy associate with Clean Wisconsin.

Airborne coal dust has many health impacts. Numerous scientific studies have found that exposure to coal dust can cause premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function and increase respiratory problems. By requiring We Energies to use pollution controls such as wind barriers, “crusting” agents, wet dust suppression, enclosures and other controls, as well as monitoring and enforcement, the DNR can begin to address these public health threats from the Oak Creek Power Plant.

Clean Wisconsin protects the state’s air, water and natural heritage. On behalf of our more than 30,000 members, supporters and partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. 608-251-7020,

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One thought on “Statement on Proposed Oak Creek Power Plant Coal Pile Expansion”

  1. La Mer says:

    Why are we stuck with dirty coal utilities? Because W-E-C Energies, our Wisconsin utility mega-holding company, and MARC, the Mid-America Regulatory Commissioners, like fossil fuels, I guess.

    The W-E-C Energy network (with its hydra-headquarters in WI and tentacles in MI, MN and IL) rose up out of its recent merger like a dying monster from an ash waste pond to suggest that any new electric plants (including, presumably, proposed power plants that use renewables to generate electricity) be BANNED IN WI:

    MARC (the utility regulators’ club you never heard of but which has been meeting since 1956 apparently) claims to invite regulators and the public to get together to discuss “energy regulation policy.” This is what Hon. Padrutt of WI had to say about the big utility regulators in 1973:

    “One would seek in vain throughout the entire world for [utility regulation’s] counterpart. We should be mindful of the tremendous economic power which is reposed in this small band of citizens, power which profoundly affects the well-being of every man, woman and child in this nation….”
    Hon. Arthur L. Padrutt of WI at the national convention of utility regulators in 1973; see p. 63:

    “Today in Energy” (below) is sad to report that coal miners are losing their jobs and dirty coal mega-companies are screwing their shareholders as they apply for bankruptcy protection:

    “Several key mergers and acquisitions in the coal industry have occurred during the past few years. In 2009, Foundation Coal Holdings (fourth-largest producer in 2008) merged with Alpha Natural Resources. This action leapfrogged Alpha Natural Resources from the 14th-largest producer to the fourth-largest but with 16% more production in that slot than its predecessor, Foundation Coal. Alpha Natural Resources then acquired Alpha Appalachia Holdings Company in 2011 (formerly A.T. Massey Coal Company), and its production rose by 35 million tons, or 44%, year-over-year. Alpha Natural Resources owns the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayre mines in Wyoming in addition to Appalachian mines.

    In 2009, Rio Tinto Energy of America (RTEA)—the second-largest producer in 2008—reshuffled some production by divesting itself of Jacobs Ranch mine in Wyoming, selling it to Arch Coal. This move allowed Arch Coal, an eastern and western coal producer, to solidify its second-place position in 2009, although it had been in the top four since 1998 when the (then) newly established company first acquired Powder River Basin mines. Cloud Peak Energy—exclusively a Powder River Basin coal company—also spun off from RTEA in 2009 and entered the top four, where it has remained.”

    What do the bankruptcies among the biggest coal companies portend for the price WI consumers will be paying for our DIRTY COAL electricity as our suppliers “restructure”?

    And will our rich new W-E-C Energy guys clean up the Hexavalent Chromium in our largest cities’ drinking water? Note: Madison’s water supply shows the fourth highest level of this carcinogen among all U.S cities:

    Unfortunately, even the EPA is slow to regulate coal’s contamination of drinking water:

    Thanks a lot, wanker:

    Finally, here are just two items about the slow clean-up of pollution from a now obsolete and currently Xcel-owned coal-gas plant on the shore of sacred, beautiful and sometimes windy Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay:

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