Citizens For Clean Energy, Inc.

Wind, Water, Solar, Hydo...Future is ecat

October 2006


Two heroes today.  Mary Jolley and a neighbor of the proposed Highwood Plant.  Thanks.  Both are heroes. 

Please take time to write a comment opposing the zone change.  We have 30 days to comment.  Either fax it at 454-6903 or email to or mail to Cascade County Commissioners/ Courthouse Annex/325 2nd Ave. N. / Great Falls, MT 59401.  Please use Paul’s letter below as a basis for writing.   Any neighbors who are known to oppose this, please tell them to get a hold of Lisa Hardiman at 455-6412 or Richard Liebert at 736-5791.  All neighbors who come forth, your names will not be shared.  Thanks  lisa

To:  Cascade County Commissioners and Planners
Re:  Urquhart family request to rezone agricultural land to Heavy Industrial use
for the construction of a coal-fired power generation facility
A portion of the legal zoning regulation for heavy industrial is listed below. It can also be found on the county's website under planning and zoning regulations (on electronic page 77, actual page 73):
_______________ Site Plan Review and Approval
In each case where an I-2 industrial building or use is proposed, the Zoning Administrator shall review the site plan of the proposal in accordance with Section 9.7 and shall approve, or approve with modifications, or disapprove such site plan. In modifying or disapproving such site plan, the Zoning Administrator shall enter his reasons for such action in Office of Zoning Administrator's records. The Zoning Administrator shall also review the plan considering the noxious or injurious effects of the industrial operation for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and general welfare of the community. Affidavit Required
Any applicant applying for a permit in an I-2 Heavy Industrial District shall file with the Zoning Administrator, on forms provided, an affidavit together with description of industrial occupancy and operation relative to the following:
(a) Noise (b) Smoke (c) Odor (d) Dust and Dirt (e) Noxious Gases (f) Glare and Heat
(g) Fire Hazards (h) Industrial Wastes (j) Aesthetics (i) Transportation & Traffic
(k) Psychological Effects
Apparently, the Environmental Impact Statement (still in Draft form, and not approved or modified to include numerous corrections and objections to the conclusions reached therein) is being provided to serve as the "Affidavit Required" under County zoning rules. It is precisely the issues enumerated here which cause us to object to the zoning change.  Every category above, a-k, will be impacted by the Highwood Generating Station.  More importantly, these effects will extend far beyond the boundaries of the Urquhart property, which has arbitrarily been defined as its own "District" for zoning purposes, thus excluding neighbors and people downwind from having any say in this zoning change.  At least that was the "ruling" made by the County Attorney present at the Planning Board hearing last week. 
We insist that everyone impacted by this proposed Generating Station be allowed to protest, and their property rights, health, and welfare be seriously taken into account in this zoning change.  It is obvious to us that a corrected Environmental Impact Statement will show that the harm and costs to the people of Cascade and adjoining counties will absolutely preclude the construction of such a facility in this location, and that the Commissioners should refuse the request for a zoning change.  At the least, this request should be tabled until such time as the final Environmental Impact Statement has been approved, financing has been obtained for the plant, and other uncertainties answered. 
This is not simply a request for a zoning change:  it is a request by specific parties to site a specific facility at this location.  Since this is a major industrial facility which will forever change the character of the immediate environment, and the lives, health, and property values of everyone in the vicinity, as well as those downwind and downstream in the Missouri River Basin, it is imperative that the Commission not grant this application without a great deal of further study and testimony from those concerned. 
(s) Paul Stephens

Canaries in the Coal Mine

Canaries in the Coal Mine:  Climate Change, Windmills and Birds
Russell Doty, CEO New World Wind Power, Executive Director of Green Electricity Buying Coop and Great Falls born and raised, will be our guest October 9th.  Mr.. Doty will present a program that covers global warming, bird kills as a result of global warming (it isn't just wind power that kills birds), and the cost to personally commit to reducing global warming.Mr. Doty has served in the Montana legislature, worked for the Public Service Commission, wrote environmental law in Minnesota, practiced private law and has also worked for the Untied States Postal Service in his varied career.  Come with questions, come with friends and family. 
The public is welcome to attend all Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon meetings.  We meet on the second Monday of the month at the Rainbow Retirement Center, #20 3rd Street North, across from the US Post Office.  The meeting is held in the lower level meeting room.  The meeting starts at 7 PM with bird identification and social time, the program starts about 7:30 PM.

Paul Stephens Article

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:36 pm Post subject: Schweitzer's
billion IGCC plant
There are several important points which should be noted
this event. First, it is exactly the sort of plant which we've been
the city and SME they should build near Great Falls -- if they want or
to build more coal-based energy systems (and we insist they don't need
to do
this). Basin Electric, a North Dakota co-op, is building a similar
and has offered to sell SME power at long-term, cost-effective rates.
Second, it will only add to Montana's generating capacity,
is already more than double what we use, here. Thus, this plant (and
all new proposed plants) are really "merchant plants", whose power will
exported to other states, leaving us with depleted resources, huge
streams, and superfund cleanup sites down the road. This is a very bad
for "economic development" and "cheap power."
Third, we advocated IGCC technology over CFB (straight
coal-burners) for the Highwood Station because it is relatively
pollution-free; and the huge amount of CO2 it emits (the equivalent of
560,000 cars and trucks for the Highwood plant) can potentially be
"sequestered", or pumped back into the ground so it doesn't add to
warming. These are all pluses for the Bull Mountain plant.
SME and Mr Lawton have been lying to us all along, that IGCC
isn't financeable and is "unproven" technology. About 1/4 of currently
proposed coal plants are IGCC (some 30 of them nationwide). We must do
for the local Highwood station, or no coal at all. Carbon taxes will
increase the cost of coal-fired power by a factor of 2-3, or even more,
wind is widely established. The Highwood Station as proposed will never
cover its costs, and will be a great liability both to city and local
finances and to our health, the tourist industry, the arts, and other
growth sectors in central Montana. Those who want to build the Highwood
station are out to harm us. The "benefits" they offer in turn are merely
taxes and a few jobs. Think about it. Should it take an investment of
million dollars to create 65 jobs? This is absurd. The Highwood Station
never produce any power for the people of Great Falls.
Paul Stephens Member of Citizens for Clean Energy