Havre Daily News
Spurred out of meetings in Great Falls and public concerns, speakers from the Montana Environmental Information Center will meet at Rocky Boy's Stone Child College conference room at noon Monday to discuss the proposed coal-fired power plant east of Great Falls and its impact on the area.
The Montana Environmental Information Center's Anne Hedges and Patrick Judge will discuss the environmental impact of the proposed 250-megawatt generating station to be built by the Southern Montana Generation and Transmission Co-op, which has purchased a site eight miles east of Great Falls on the south side of the Missouri River. The plant, which is set to be open by 2008, will burn 1.1 million tons of coal yearly.
Hedges said a similar meeting in Great Falls was well-attended, with about 70 people. She said she will discuss the possible environmental impacts of the plant including the emission of mercury, a potent toxin. Hedges said many mercury warnings already exist in the region from past mining activities. The mercury deposits make eating fish caught in the area a hazard, she said.
Judge said he is going to put this proposed power plant in context.
“Our organization has a lot of concerns about taking this path,” he said.
Hedges said alternative energy generation like wind power is a much more viable option for the Great Falls area.
Montana could meet its energy needs 70 times over with renewable energy options, Judge said.
“Don't put all of your eggs in one basket and be stuck with one plant for the next 100 years,” she said.
Hedges said the concern is that pollution will head straight down the river to Fort Benton and Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
“Let's have a healthy discussion of what it will mean to agriculture and the residents' health,” she said.
For more information call Lisa Hardiman (406) 455-6412 or e-mail email@example.com.