CANDIDATE FEEDBACK ON COAL PLANT
(A) Do you favor the proposed coal-fired power plant east of Great Falls? (B) If so, should the Legislature grant the city of Great Falls the right to supply electricity to all customers in the city?
VOTERS TAKE NOTE: To Date (10/12/06) four candidates are openly opposed or doubt the validity of the course of action for the proposed coal-fired plant (Mary Jolley, Mike Kasula, Ken Holtz & Jonathan Windy Boy).
According to the draft Air Quality Permit, the Highwood Power Project would release the following pollutants to the atmosphere in Great Falls and surrounding areas:
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) 443 tons per year
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) 944 tons per year
Carbon Monoxide (CO) 1177 tons per year
Particulate Matter (PM-10)* 366 tons per year
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) equivalent** 3,052,081 tons per year
(equivalent to 561,000 cars)
Sulfuric Acid Mist 62 tons per year
Volatile Organic Carbon (VOC) 38 tons per year
Hydrochloric Acid Gas (HCl) 24 tons per year
Hydrofluoric Acid Gas (HF) 20 tons per year
Mercury 40 pounds per year
*Note that Particulate Matter includes metals such as Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Manganese, and 560 pounds of lead.
** Note that the CO2e emissions of this plant represent an increase of 7.5% over ALL sources of greenhouse gases in Montana.
Candidates take note:
Our Governor has gone on record as saying that the cleanest coal to energy technology is IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle) and will be used in Montana. This current modern technology can greatly eliminate or reduce the above compounds from the process and consequent emissions to the atmosphere.
Some of you have publicly here stated support for only “The cleanest technology available” for the proposed Highwood Generating Plant. Please keep our environment clean by backing up your words with statements supporting the governor’s vision of IGCC coal technology for ALL of Montana. Go to our government contacts list and voice your concerns to not dump the above noxious compounds on our populace by incorporating IGCC……
Joe Tropila, SD13, Democrat
A. Yes. B. Only if they can get legal permission to do so legislatively, which presently they cannot do.
Brian Hoven, SD12, Republican
I favor the coal-fired plant east of Great Falls. Hopefully, they will adapt the technology to control mercury emissions. City owned utilities are common and successful. The Legislature should agree to permit the city to distribute electricity. However, the city must permit individuals and businesses to choose where they buy their power
Mitch Tropila, SD12, Democrat (son of above)
John Lennon's song, "Power to the People," comes to mind. Montanans should own their own power, not the corporate bigwigs on Wall Street. If the best available technology is incorporated and if environmental standards are stringently met or exceeded, I support it. Yes to the second part of the question.
Geannine Rapp, HD18, Democrat I support economic growth that is environmentally responsible and what is best for our families and neighbors. At this point, I would be in favor of the proposed coal-fired power plant east of Great Falls. As a representative in the Montana Legislature, I would insist the plant hire Montana union labor whenever possible, support the plant's claim for 90 percent mercury capture, and strongly encourage SME to continue to explore even better technology as it becomes available. I also recognize the significant benefits to the economy — taxes, jobs and family security, potential for economic growth, long-term and affordable energy for school district, hospital, and public entities
Jesse O’Hara, HD18, Republican Yes. I favor building the coal-fired generating plant if we can do it cleanly. And I believe we can with the new technology that is available these days. I believe we need the jobs, the additional tax base, and it will keep energy costs level for future needs — another factor in recruiting businesses to central Montana. I am in favor of whatever gives our people in our community the best deal for their energy dollars.
Chris Gregory, HD13, Democrat I support the construction of a coal-fired power plant east of Great Falls using the cleanest available technology because Great Falls needs the jobs
Chris Gregory, HD13, Constitution Party To be truthful, I need more information on it to make an educated decision
Mike Kaszula, SD11, Libertarian I do not support the Highwood mercury pump! Other technology, solar or wind should be developed instead. It could be in the same place. The infrastructure to support the Highwood mercury pump doesn't exist. The only good thing about the process is it will likely never be built due to political posturing and tax base greed. Trainloads of coal to power an Xbox game on pause doesn't seem worth the trade.
Trudi Schmidt, SD11, Democrat My biggest concern is with the emissions from such a plant. If the proposed plant is doing all that it can to protect the citizens, and at the same time be competitive in the market, then it would be advantageous for it to supply power to Great Falls. I think we need to also be backing development of alternative and renewable sources of energy in Montana, specifically ethanol, biodiesel and wind power, as well as work with the governor in his efforts regarding coal-to-liquid fuel.
Jonathan Martin, SD11, Constitution Party I feel I still don't have enough information to take a strong stand; but, if the plant can be built so that it does not unduly affect the environment. I favor attempts to become more energy-independent.
Deb Kottel, HD20, Democrat If the coal-fired power plant meets environmental regulations it should be permitted. The plant will provide primary sector jobs, increase the tax base and will create an energy source for local consumption. The City should be allowed the right to supply electricity
Jim Whitaker, HD20, Republican Yes, the proposed power plant will bring many much needed new jobs to the Great Falls area. In the interest of free market sale of electricity and fair competition, the Legislature, or rather the Public Service Commission should allow the city to offer energy to all the electric customers of Great Falls.
Bill Thomas, HD26, Democrat I support the power plant because it will provide good quality-paying jobs.
Jack Allen, HD26, Republican Yes to both. It'll create construction jobs and operational jobs, while
Expanding our tax base. It will have minimal impact on our environment. Of
Course it won't be the first coal-fired plant in our midst; Malmstrom has operated one for 23 years.
Rick Tryon, HD21, Republican I am in favor of the plant but not a city-run energy monopoly
Ken Holtz, HD21, Constitution Party No
Tim Callahan, HD21, Democrat The ability to have some control over the energy needs of our community is enticing. The short-term jobs associated with the construction and the few ongoing jobs related to running the facility would be a boon to the community. The increase in the tax base could provide some tax relief to residential property taxpayers. However, environmental impacts from mercury and other emissions could negate all the gains realized by polluting our streams and rivers for generation to come. Mitigating those potential impacts should be something on which we can all agree. If the power plant goes through, all customers should be allowed to purchase power from the lowest-cost provider available.
Larry H. Steele, HD25, Republican Yes, because it would increase high-paying jobs and revenue to the area of Great Falls. I also would support the power generated from the plant being offered to citizens of Great Falls to increase competition in the utility market
Sue Dickenson, HD25, Democrat I favor the coal plant with reservations, primarily with the mercury and greenhouse gas issues. A stringent mercury rule, which the Board of Environmental Review may make this fall, will reassure me of public health protection. If the board accepts the DEQ's (Department of Environmental Quality) mercury limits; Montana does not participate in the national cap and trade program; and if the company commits to pursue technology to capture greenhouse gases, I support it. We need the construction jobs and I commend SME (Southern Montana Electric) for the pollution control commitments they have made. I support public power and would consider allowing the city of Great Falls to supply electricity to its residents.
Robert O’Connor, HD25, Constitution Party Did not return a comment
Mary Jolley, HD22, Republican In 2003, the City Commission created Electric City Power by enacting Ordinance 2861. The City ignored the "vote of the people" part of Ordinance 2861 and spent $3 million on the coal plant. On Nov. 1, 2005, our city commission voted to repeal our right to vote. There was no mention of this repeal in any agenda reports, work sessions or commission meetings. The Environmental Impact Statement is due soon. I want citizens to have the right to vote yes or no on the plant, just like every other city has. Allowing Great Falls to be the default supplier will depend on the vote.
Rodger Nelson, HD22, Constitution Party Yes, I favor the coal-fired power plant. Based on my current understanding, service and price decisions should be left to the owners of the power plant
Bill Wilson, HD22, Democrat Yes, if the cleanest technology is used and Montana and union workers are hired. Additionally, the on-site wind power component should be increased. I favor the city of Great Falls being allowed to supply its residents.
Brad Hamlett, HD19, Democrat Yes, because it will supply an expanded tax base, provide permanent good paying jobs with benefits, use our natural resources and provide for affordable electricity. The legislature should further grant the city of Great Falls the right to supply all willing customers with electricity, (and) go one step further by granting the right to supply all rural customers.
Mike Milburn, HD19, Republican As long as modern technology is used to provide the most efficient and cleanest power. It must be competitive and affordable. The tax base will help our schools.
Eve Franklin, HD24, Democrat A.The production and availability of energy is a critical part of our economic base. Gaining my support for the coal-fired power plant is based on three conditions: That Southern Montana Electric be held to the most stringent possible controls on mercury emissions; that they honor a commitment to hiring union labor and Montana workers; (and) that the city of Great Falls and its citizens are not exposed to any financial liability. B. I believe in the merits of public power regulated by the Public Service Commission, which is the best position to evaluate protections for the consumer.
James Drew, HD24, Republican I am in favor of the coal plant and the customer base should be expansive. I want consumer costs reduced and stabilized. Employment opportunities will be a benefit. More, better better-paid workers increase our tax base and revenue. Environment and pollution must be addressed scientifically and accurately, not emotionally.
Philip DuPaul, HD24, Constitution Party Did not return a comment
Jonathan Windy Boy, HD 32, Democrat Mercury emissions is a devastating pollutant that needs to be limited. I strongly oppose the construction of the Highwood Generating Plant (near) Great falls, not because it will promote jobs, but because of the pollutant emissions coming from the Plant.