increases pressure against power plants
residents hope public outcry will kill the proposal
Faced with the increased likelihood that Great
Plains Energy will receive the required permits
they need to build an 800-mw power plant in Platte
County, the Concerned Citizens of Platte County
(CCPC) community group has vowed to concentrate
its efforts in coming months as they continue
to fight against the proposed plants.
Theyre going to get their permits,
conceded Susan Brown, chairperson for CCPC, at
a meeting the group had at Park Hills Congress
Middle School on Monday night.
Appealing to the county commissioners and
our elected officials
public pressure and
publicity is whats going to kill this thing
The CCPC, which opposes construction of the power
plants because of health and environmental concerns,
hosted the meeting, which was attended by more
than 100 people. In addition to a presentation
by former Sierra Club coordinator Melissa Blakley
on the effects of coal pollution, the meeting
featured a panel of experts from the EPA, Missouri
Department of Natural Resources and the Mid-America
Regional Council Air Quality Program who answered
questions about specific power plant related issues.
As in previous meetings, after a brief period
of questions and answers, the expert panel quickly
became a sounding board for frustrated residents.
Most of the statements made by residents were
met with applause.
What mechanisms are available to us to
stop this thing? asked one resident. Can
Others criticized the stance of West Platte R-II
Superintendent Kyle Stephenson, who has said he
supports the power plant. According to Stephenson,
the school district would stand to make nearly
$1.7 million per year from power plant payments
in lieu of taxes.
We need to look out for this cadre that
insists well lose money for our schools
if we turn this deal down, said one woman
in attendance. Weve done fine without
them and well always do fine without them!
KCP&L, the local subsidiary of Great Plains
Energy, incurred the most wrath from residents,
Theyre going to take our bond money
and our beautiful land and sell energy to New
Jersey and Ohio, said Mike Ballard of Weston.
Meanwhile, well be sitting here, dealing
with the landfill and the smokestacks. We need
to tell KCP&L no.
Another resident said that in comparison with
Platte-Clay Electric, Great Plains Energy was
unresponsive to the community and their concerns,
saying the company was closed-minded
The Platte County Commission also faced criticism
from some of the residents.
Theyre trying to sell us rock soup,
one man said. Theyre saying its
only one plant. Then its the lines, then
its the rail traffic. Why are we signing
a note for these speculators to make money? Its
not only asthma
its going to affect
your building, youre going to smell it every
morning. We can replace the commissioners! Ill
give them money to back out of this deal, but
not into this deal!
Frequent mention was made of the fact that both
Michael Short and Steven Wegner are up for re-election
this year, with a primary election in August and
a general election in November.
One person even called for Brown to run, which
she laughed off before urging the audience members
to make their voices heard by contacting media
outlets and discussing the issue with other citizens.
In addition, CCPC handed out a contact list for
elected area officials and key individuals involved
in the permitting process for the plant.
Brown said that CCPC would be stepping up its
education efforts in coming weeks. Brown said
the group would be scheduling meetings in Atchison
and visiting with local city councils to make
their feelings known.
One night after the meeting at Park Hill, Brown
spoke at the Platte City Board of Aldermen meeting.
After outlining the potential health effects the
plant may have on the city, Brown pointed out
that homeowners may see a loss in property values
and that businesses may be less inclined to locate
to the area.
When you drive up I-29, there is that huge
smokestack (at the current Iatan plant),
Brown said. Were so conditioned to
seeing it, but imagine if they build three more
and youre looking at buying a house in the
Brown urged the aldermen to pass a resolution
against the plant or to engage as citizens in
her groups effort.
The board took no action but thanked her for
POLLUTION CONTROLS EXPERIENCING
In a report submitted to the Kansas City Health
Department and the Missouri Department of Natural
Resources (MDNR), KCP&L representatives admitted
pollution controls employed at the Hawthorn plant
in Kansas City were not performing at this
time in its life cycle as originally designed,
The Landmark has learned.
Despite KCP&L officials repeated references
to the power plants new pollution controls
as being the best in the country, the report apparently
paints a decidedly different picture of the plants
According to the report, the power plants
Selective Catalytic Reduction system (SCR), has
been unable to meet projected standards set forth
in the plants permit.
The SCR, which performs the same function that
a catalytic converter does in a car, turns harmful
nitrogen oxides (NOx) into water vapor and elemental
nitrogen by injecting the escaping flue gasses
generated by the plant with ammonia.
The plant employed the technology after being
rebuilt from a February 1999 explosion that destroyed
the boiler and leveled the plant, causing an estimated
loss of $538 million to KCP&L.
When questioned about the plants performance
in light of the report at the Feb. 9 meeting of
the Concerned Citizens of Platte County community
group, officials said that KCP&L was still
working to address the problem and hadnt
exceeded agreed upon emission rates for Nox.
(KCP&L is in compliance of their permit,
said Kyra Moore of the MDNR Air Pollution program.
Theyre just having difficulties ramping
up to the final number of their permit.
James Joerke, Mid-America Regional Council Air
Quality Program Manager, said he had a lot
of confidence that the plant would eventually
meet its standard goals.
Craig Volland, environmental research consultant
and engineer, disagreed with that assessment.
They have been trying to make this thing
work for the last two years, Volland said.
Theyre putting in so much ammonia
to meet that standard now, I dont understand
why they would (make their numbers). I think its
premature to say this is going to work.
Volland said that the excess amounts of ammonia
were having detrimental effects on the environment.
In itself, ammonia is a pollutant,
Volland said. It forms in the atmosphere
which causes haze. It falls into the water bodies,
which causes too much nitrogen, killing fish.