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Jed Boal ReportingA move by the mayor of Los Angeles could impact plans to build a massive new coal power plant near Delta, Utah. The city will not be an investor. That means The Intermountain Power Plant will not get $350-million from Los Angeles for the Two Billion dollar project.
Environmentalists say it sends a strong message. But planners for the third big plant near Delta say it won't short-circuit their objectives.
Two 850 Megawatt generators send most of their power to Los Angeles, and the Intermountain Power Plant plans another that would be one of the largest in the country. Critics claim the coal-burning plants pollute our air for LA's power. Yesterday the city's mayor said they would not invest in it and would pursue renewable energy.
The mayor wrote, “The department will truly signal its commitment to investing in 21st century power generation technology.” Environmentalists hope other potential investors see it the same way.
Kathy Van Dame, Utah Clean Air Coalition: “It's the writing on the wall and they realize that investing in IPP is a bad risk for Utah municipalities."
Rick Sprott, Utah Division of Air Quality: “Certainly it does have significant pollution, but they operate well within their limits and the two units are among the cleanest in the country even though they were built quite a few years ago."
Legally, the new plant has to be even cleaner.
Rick Sprott: “The control technologies have improved, and we're required to put the new technology on any new plant."
Critics argue Utahns will have to live with that technology for decades.
Kathy Van Dame: “The technology they're proposing for IPP, they operated it well for what it is, it's a dinosaur -- it is old technology."
The Division of Air Quality says the technology is the best for that type facility.
IPP directors say LA would have only been a 10-15-percent investor, and after studying the project for two years they're only starting the funding process. The division of air quality says the permit application process for the third plant is nearly complete. IPP should have the go-ahead in four to six weeks.
IPP planners say the development phase could take about 18-months. If the permit and funding come through, they expect construction could begin in the spring of 2006.