Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AEC) received preliminary approval from the state of Missouri to build a 780MW coal-fired power plant near Norborne, MO. The plant would provide power to residents of Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma and is estimated to cost about $1.7 billion. Having received the preliminary approval from the state, AEC has hit a roadblock with opponents of the plant. Voicing concerns over global warming, health risks and pollution, opponents of the plant are going after Missouri regulators in a way similar to what happened in Kansas less than a month ago. “We need to reject permits for more coal-burning power plants until we figure out what to do about global warming,” said Melissa Hope of the Sierra Club's Missouri chapter. In support of the project was southwest Missouri resident John Griffith who said, "“There are those who contend we shouldn't build any more fossil fuel plants. This would be similar to proclaiming that we are destroying our land by producing food, so we shouldn't produce any more food.” He continued, “A growing population needs a growing food supply. Likewise, a growing economy needs a growing energy supply.”

If carbon capture and storage was used at the plant it could limit the estimated 6.8 million tons of carbon dioxide that would be emitted annually. But, as of now, CCS doesn’t appear to be in the plans. The plant would create close to 150 full-time jobs upon completion and about 900 jobs during construction. A final decision on the plant could come as early as mid-January.

Click to view the draft permit and public notice. Comments are being accepted through November 21, 2007