PANAMA, OK -- The decision by AES to cancel plans to build a second coal-fired power plant in Panama is proof the handwriting is on the wall for burning coal to produce electricity. Harlan Hentges of the Center for Energy Matters, the citizen-based group fighting the proposed expansion, says public outcry for newer, cleaner technologies is forcing companies to take a second look at how they generate electricity. Combined with today’s Obama Administration action to begin regulating carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, said Hentges. “It’s no wonder AES pulled their application.”
“With today’s EPA ruling, the cost to AES to clean up carbon emissions from their existing Panama plant, much less a new plant twice the size, would make any company’s shareholders think twice about using coal to generate electricity, especially when cleaner technologies exist,” Hentges said. “We believe the success of this effort depended upon the outpouring of concern by the people of Poteau, Sallisaw, Bokoshe and Panama,” said Rosemary Crawford with CEM.
The Center for Energy Matters contends the six coal-fired generating plants in Oklahoma creates smog, contaminates rivers, steams and water supplies with mercury and arsenic and creates a loss of economic viability to the region. “This also proves that the people of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas don’t just accept things at face value. The people from Leflore and Sequoyah counties who voiced their concerns about the health and economic ramifications prove they aren’t going believe everything a large, multi-national corporation tells them.” Crawford said Hentges said adding another dirty coal-fired power plant to our area could potentially force Tulsa, Fort Smith, Fayetteville and Bentonville out of attainment for air quality standards under the Clean Air Act. That could limit the entire region in attracting new industries to the area.
Center for Energy Matters is part of a coalition made up of Audubon Arkansas, Clean Air Arkansas, Sequoyah County Clean Air Coalition, Sierra Club/Oklahoma chapter and Public Citizen of Texas. They are working on this project known as “Two is Too Many: Stop AES Shady Point II.” For more information about this issue, go to www.Centerforenergymatters.org.