NASA scientist asks Pawlenty to oppose coal power

Big Stone Power plant
The Big Stone Power plant. Utility officials want to build a second coal-fired power plant on the same site, but environmentalists oppose the plan.
MPR Photo/Mark Steil

A NASA scientist is urging Gov. Pawlenty to oppose new coal-fired power plants.

Dr. James Hansen appealed in a letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty to oppose the construction of the Big Stone II coal-fired power plant along the Minnesota-South Dakota border. Hansen said any plans to retrofit coal plants to capture CO2 emissions will be expensive.

"It's going to become clear, very soon, that coal-fired power plants are simply not compatible with a climate similar to that which has existed for the last several thousand years. So it's a very bad decision to build any new coal-fired power plant that does not capture CO2," said Hansen.

A spokesperson for Gov. Pawlenty said the administration will soon review recommendations by the administrative law judge, which is currently examining the Big Stone II project. He said Minnesota has taken among the strongest steps in the nation to diversify energy sources.

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