Residents Oppose Coal-Fired Power
Nov 12, 2007 - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Meetings on a proposed 750-megawatt,
coal-fired plant drew numerous opponents in Mesquite
and St. George, Utah, but only a few environmentalists
to a meeting late Thursday in Las Vegas.
About 70 Mesquite residents attended
a public meeting Wednesday on the proposed Toquop
Energy Project while 250 attended a meeting in St.
The plant site is 12 miles from Mesquite
and 40 northeast of St. George, where some residents
fear the project would pollute the communities' relatively
During a meeting at the Cora Coleman
Senior Center in Las Vetas, Steve Rypka of Henderson
called building a coal-fired power plant "ecological
suicide." The coal plant would emit large quantities
of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming,
"Really, the impact is forever," Rypka
said. "This plant may burn for 50 years. It will be
affecting our climate for hundreds of years after
Rypka argued that Nevada could satisfy
its power needs through energy conservation and renewable
energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal power.
Brian Buchanan, who wore a Sierra Club
T-shirt, said the federal government is expected to
start regulating carbon dioxide emissions, which would
make energy from coal more expensive.
"We're coming into a carbon regulated
future. It's coming down the pike very soon. These
are costs that will be passed on to ratepayers down
the road," Buchanan said.
With Nevada's abundant renewable energy,
the coal project "just doesn't seem to make sense
for our state," Buchanan said. The project would be
located on 640 acres of federal land managed by the
Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM issued a draft environmental
impact statement on the Toquop Energy Project on Oct.
12. The federal agency is holding meetings at affected
communities to let the public comment before BLM issues
a final environmental impact statement and decides
whether to approve the use of the federal land for
Sithe Global Power, the Houston-based
developer of Toquop, also needs an air permit from
the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
Sithe obtained BLM approval in 2003
to build a 1,100-megawatt plant that would burn natural
gas on the site. But the power developer decided to
construct a coal plant instead, in part because natural
gas prices are volatile and a higher cost than coal.
The power plant operator could sign long-term contracts
with utilities because coal prices are more stable.
Sithe representatives contend that the
new plant would replace old coal plants that burn
coal less efficiently and spew more air pollutants.
The company hopes to start construction next year.