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PSC turns down Cassville coal plant

Alliant Energy of Madison says it's unlikely it will appeal Tuesday's rejection of a new coal-fired power plant on the Mississippi River in Cassville.

The state Public Service Commission voted 3-0 against the $1.3 billion project.

They said the price tag was too high, and it would not reduce the emissions that cause global warming.

Some larger businesses balked at the high construction costs wondering what it will do to future electric rates.

Alliant had promised to off-set the coal pollution by using things like switch grass for 20 percent of the plant's production. In addition, they promised other pollution savings, like shutting down a boiler in Sheboygan County.

However, PSC commissioner Mark Meyer said those moves would be made anyway and utilities need to reduce global warming factors, not just offset them.

Still, he would not shut the door on future coal plants.

But Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club says coal-fired power will get more expensive as President-elect Barack Obama vows to constrain carbon emissions.

Nilles said the plant rejection sent a message to all decision-makers to take global warming seriously.

Alliant says it's disappointed, but it will keep looking for ways to meet the state's growing power needs.

Unlike other projects, this one didn't get the normal "not in my back yard" opposition from locals.

In fact, Cassville and Grant County overwhelmingly supported the new plant because of the jobs it would have created.