Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Plant must cut coal usage

[media-credit name=’Herald file photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]CoalPlant_FILEPHOTO[/media-credit]Coal plant agreement

The University of Wisconsin and the
state of Wisconsin reached an agreement Monday to reduce coal use 15
percent at the Charter Street plant by January.

The plant, which provides heating and
cooling to about 300 UW buildings, was found to be in violation of
the federal Clean Air Act Nov. 7. The ruling said the facility needs
major repair and modifications after it failed to install modern
technologies that would prevent pollution from soot, smog and mercury
by 90 percent.


The agreement reached Monday promotes
the reduction of coal through the use of alternative fuels and energy
conservation throughout campus. The coal plant will reduce its coal
use nearly 20,000 tons each year by Jan. 1, 2008.

"We'd have to make it up with a
combination of more natural gas, more fuel oil and more energy
conservation," said Alan Fish, UW associate vice chancellor of
facilities and management. "The second part is a comprehensive
evaluation of what the future of the Charter Street Plan would look

According to Fish, an engineering
technology and construction firm called Syska Hennesy Group will be
responsible for developing a comprehensive evaluation of permanent
coal reduction for the future.

"That process will lead into
recommendations that will be made in the 2009 state budget," Fish

Fish said although the reductions will
not affect energy consumption at UW since the facility only generates
heating and cooling, the university will still try to engage the
campus community in energy conservation.

Jennifer Feyerherm, coordinator for the
Sierra Club Wisconsin Clean Energy Campaign, a national nonprofit
environmental organization, said besides the immediate pollution
reduction — which would reduce the risk of global warming — the
Department of Natural Resources will also review a total of 12 coal
facilities in the state, most of which are part of the UW System.

"This is a combination of a lot of
work from our grassroots members, UW students and Madison residents,"
Feyerherm said. "Over a thousand people raised their voices through
letters and testified at hearings asking Chancellor Wiley and
Governor Doyle to either clean up or shut down that place."

Sierra Club was the group that filed a
lawsuit with the DNR that sparked the investigation into the coal

"This is a great day for the
breathing public in Madison," Sierra Club volunteer leader Seth
Nowak wrote in a statement. "This plan achieves immediate health
benefits here in Madison by cutting coal use at Charter Street, and
is a major step forward toward eliminating coal burning in downtown

Department of Natural Resources
Secretary Matthew Frank said this agreement goes beyond resolving
issues at one heating plant. Frank said it sets up a new framework
for state agencies to work together to ensure environmental
compliance statewide.

"We're charting the future for
Wisconsin to be a leader in the production and use of cleaner,
renewable energy," Frank wrote in a statement.

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