A coalition of ratepayer and environmental groups today challenged the state of Indiana's approval of Duke Energy's plans to build a massive new coal-fired power plant in Edwardsport, Indiana. The groups are also taking aim at Duke's CEO, Jim Rogers, who has been vocal about the need to curb global warming pollution, but has so far refused to commit his company to cut emissions.

The coalition filed a formal challenge to the air permit for the proposed Edwardsport coal plant with the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication. Among the numerous claims the coalition is challenging the failure of the state to limit emissions of global warming pollution and ensure local residents are protected from unharmful levels of soot pollution. The alliance is represented by attorneys Jerry Polk and David Bender. A decision is expected later this year.

"Duke's actions don't match the company's green rhetoric," said Bill Hayden, Chapter Chair of the Indiana Sierra Club (and Duke customer). "Jim Rogers talks about clean energy, yet is pushing forward this coal plant in Indiana and another new coal plant in North Carolina, both of which will emit millions of tons of global warming and other air pollution annually. Even more telling, according to a recent Washington Post article, Duke Energy has joined Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, a group formed to push coal and oppose legislative efforts to reduce global warming pollution."

"This Edwardsport coal plant is among the most expensive and polluting new power plants in the Nation," said Hayden. "We are taking action today because Duke and the state are threatening Indiana's residents and ratepayers by pushing forward with a coal plant as the rest of the country turns against coal."

In 2007 31 coal plants were abandoned as investors, regulators, utilities and the public became aware that new coal plants would increase global warming and eliminate opportunities for clean energy investments in America. Just in the past month a coalition of Wall Street Banks announced they were turning against coal because of rising costs, future financial risks and environmental concerns. Bush Administration plans for the FutureGen coal plant project in Illinois were also recently abandoned because of skyrocketing costs.

As the large swaths of the country are moving beyond coal, clean energy investments and new job opportunities have accelerated. The construction of new wind farms increased by 47 percent in 2007, according to a new report by the American Wind Energy Association. Iowa by the end of 2008 will have added over 1500 new family-supporting, wind turbine construction jobs.

For more information

Bruce Nilles, National Coal Campaign, Sierra Club 608.712.9725
Dave Menzer, Citizen Action Coalition 317.205.3535