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Court Halts Construction of Coal-Fired Power Plant in Georgia

A Superior Court Judge in Fulton County, Georgia has ruled that construction of Dynegy’s Longleaf plant be halted until it is assured the plant will limit the amount of carbon dioxide it releases.

The original permit would have allowed the plant to emit 9 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, something the court said was unreasonable.

The court cited the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling recognizing that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act.  It’s the first time any court has applied the ruling to an industrial source.

Commenting on the ruling, Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club’s National Coal Campaign said:

Coal-fired power plants emit more than 30% of our nation’s global warming pollution.  Thanks to this decision, coal plants across the country will be forced to live up to their clean coal rhetoric.”

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius rejected construction of a new coal plant in that state, saying global warming is a public health threat.

It isn’t known yet whether Dynegy, the largest coal plant developer in the country, will fight the ruling.  Dynegy has more new coal plants planned in the country than any other developer.

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11 comments
  1. Engineer

    “he original permit would have allowed the plant to emit 9 million tons of carbon dioxide annually”.

    I was having trouble getting my head round the idea that 25 thousand tons a day were being burned, so I did a little research and found this:

    “So how much coal does a coal plant actually use in, for example, a day?

    Well, your standard-issue, moderately large sized coal plant might be about 700-1000 megawatts of power output. Under full load the amount it would burn in a day could be as much as 40,000+ tons of coal. If it’s low-demand season and the plant is just operating at a minimal capacity, it might be around 10,000-20,000 tons of coal. 10,000 tons of coal is about the capacity of a mile-long coal-hauling fright train. So during high demand, you would have about four or five of these unloading at the plant. Even with the automated unloading equipment, this means the cars are being dumped nearly continuously. If coal is delivered by barge, it could get by with one large shipment every day or two.

    On the larger end, this is is Jänschwalde Power Station in Germany, not far from the border with Poland. This 3 gigawatt power plant is one of the largest in europe and the 25th largest in the world. It’s also the third largest coal-fired power plant in Germany and in the top ten for Europe. It consumes up to 80,000 tons of coal when operating at full capacity, PER DAY.”

    Now I can understand how we are able to load the atmosphere with CO2 and defeat the natural counterbalancing mechnanisms. The burning of this vast amount of carbon is so reckless, I’m amazed that populations will tolerate it.

  2. crescentfresh

    Gee, I hope that when the air in Georgia becomes unbreathable, you suffocate. (By the way, have you ever been to Georgia? No one there is going to freeze to death any time soon…) This judge should be applauded for following the supreme court’s ruling.

  3. fung0

    It’s high time that these large-scale projects were made to account for all their externalities. It’s no good ignoring some effects and including others… you have to balance the value of the power produced against all cost factors, including the long-term impact of emissions. If the project really is worthwhile, its promoters shouldn’t be afraid of a little basic accounting. That’s hardly “terrorism” (“eco” or any other kind); it’s just good business.

  4. Richard Culver

    Hey! That’s my money. I need that plant! I am just as green as the next guy, but if you wanted better emissions from this plant then you should have done it from the start! Do not saddell me with the cost of a half finished power plant because of your short sight. No thank you very much. I mean you really should have thought this through, in this time of high energy costs.

  5. joe blow

    Um, Jeff… He said eco-terrorist. Reading is fundamental, but when you have an agenda to promote I guess cherry picking content is ok…

  6. Justin

    I hate eco-terrorist.
    Any time someone wants to produce energy in any form (nuclear, solar, wind, geo-thermal even coal…) there is always an eco-terrorist to block it and stop human progress even if it is direly needed or for national security.

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