In the Duluth News Tribune and the Grand Rapids Herald there are two more letters about Excelsior’s Mesaba coal gasification (IGCC) Project:

Consider all the costs of power purchase arrangement

Public hearings are coming up (Hoyt Lakes, Dec. 19 and Taconite Dec. 20) regarding a proposed power purchase agreement, through which Excelsior Energy will try to force Excel Energy, or NSP, to purchase power from Excelsiorâ??s proposed Mesaba Project at Taconite.

Excelsior Energy must show it is the least-cost power solution for Minnesota. In addition to its power causing NSP to raise rates, the Mesaba Project plant may cause a reduction in land values, a loss in tourism and related jobs due to pollution, and a halt to the influx of retirees into the area. Check what happened to West Virginia when the coal mines provided good-paying jobs for that state. Experts say drinking water there is being polluted to the point where areas of the state are nearly uninhabitable. It could happen here. What will be the cost? What of the added health-care costs? All costs should be considered when making this least-cost decision.

Lee Ann Norgord



Local leaders should consider all information when making resolutions regarding Mesaba Energy

Grand Rapids Herald-Review
Thursday, December 14th, 2006 11:59:22 AM


The Itasca County Commissioners and the Itasca Economic Development Corporation recently passed resolutions of support for the controversial Mesaba Energy Project. Important aspects of this project have not been adequately and accurately presented to the public, and apparently were not considered prior to these resolutions.

The commissionersâ?? letter said that they were, â??pleased that these economic development benefits do not come at the expense of the environment.â? There is alarming information in the permit application and the scoping documents for the Environmental Impact Statement regarding environmental damage and, we believe, it is irresponsible to make such a statement prior to the release of the draft EIS in February, 2007. CAMP (Citizens Against the Mesaba Project) supports appropriate economic development but this project would negatively affect the county and its residents.

Excelsior Energy has provided â??talking pointsâ? for proponents to use in supporting the project, which do not stand up to informed scrutiny, in our opinion. We believe there is already more than enough baseload generation in the planning stages to meet the projected need for our region. Experts have concluded that this project is not likely to provide cost-competitive energy and also question its reliability. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently concluded that the emissions of IGCC technology are not significantly less than those of supercritical pulverized coal plants, except for sulfur dioxide. The main benefit claimed for IGCC is capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide but, we have found, this cannot be done on the Iron Range and the cost of piping it elsewhere is prohibitive.

The projected economic impact has been grossly inflated based on a study that cautions that it is not a cost-benefit analysis and should not be used to determine policy or make decisions. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has concluded that the net economic impact to the state is likely to be negative. The economic impact of this project is questionable at best, in our opinion, and will come at significant cost to the environment, public health, real estate values, tourism and recreation.

The IEDC 2005 Community Report lists five major goals, including â??Natural Environment: People in the Itasca Area will conserve and protect our natural resources to give future generations a healthy environment and a strong economy.â? This project would annual emit more than 5,000 tons of pollutants. This includes 54 pounds of mercury, which would adversely affect hundreds of lakes and hundreds of thousands of fish harvested each year. The emissions would cause illness for people with lung and heart disease, asthma for children, heart attacks and strokes, premature deaths, and sickness for otherwise healthy people. The project plans to close the Canisteo to recreational use and ruin it as a fishery with contaminated discharge water. This project is not compatible with protecting natural resources or creating a healthy environment.

Local leaders should carefully consider all of the available information. Understanding the true costs of this project inevitably leads to the conclusion that it would not benefit our community.

Ed Anderson, M.D., and Charlotte Neigh

CAMP co-chairs

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