- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) | American Municipal Power Inc. scrapped plans to build a coal-fired power plant in southern Ohio because construction costs jumped from $3.3 billion to $4 billion, officials said.

The 1,000-megawatt coal plant, which would have provided electricity to parts of Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia, had been the target of environmental groups since its announcement six years ago.

But American Municipal Power insisted in a statement Wednesday that the opposition had nothing to do with its decision. The Columbus-based nonprofit company said it would turn its attention toward developing a natural gas-fired plant.

“We have to develop a business plan and see what makes sense,” spokesman Kent Carson said.

The coal plant had been planned for a site near Letart Falls in Meigs County, where local officials said the project would have created as many as 490 jobs.

The project also had the support of state officials, who approved a $30 million low-interest loan in June.

Environmental groups said American Municipal Power made a tough but correct decision to cancel the coal project, citing the likelihood of new federal limits on carbon dioxide emissions that would make the plant’s electricity too expensive.

“Not only was the coal plant going to raise people’s electric rates, but it would have added to all the pollution that is making our children sick and roasting our planet,” said Nachy Kanfer, a representative of the Sierra Club in Ohio.

Natural gas plants emit about half the carbon dioxide as a coal plant and are significantly cleaner with regard to other emissions, said Shannon Fisk, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

American Municipal Power supplies power to suburban Columbus, Cleveland and 74 other Ohio communities.

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