Organizations Present Petition to Close Coal Plant - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Organizations Present Petition to Close Coal Plant

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A group of North Dakotans want the Heskett coal power plant north of Mandan to shut down. And today, they delivered petitions to MDU urging the company to do so because of what they say is a serious health threat.

The Heskett coal plant has been in Mandan since the '50s and a group of North Dakotans say it's time for it to go offline.

"Heskett emits a lot of mercury and other pollutants and all of that blows right into the Bismarck-Mandan neighborhoods," says Wayde Schafer of the Sierra Club.

Which is why members of The Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club, Dakota Resource Council and North Dakota Lung Association gathered 500 signatures urging MDU to shut down the plant and use an alternative form of energy.

"We're hoping that they'll realize that there's a number of people in the Bismarck-Mandan area that would like to see Heskett closed and are concerned about the mercury and other pollutants that blows into our neighborhoods," says Schafer.

MDU Representative Mark Hanson says they have discussed those concerns with the individuals who delivered the petitions, but they can not provide a date that the plant could shut down.

"There's a lot of factors that go into it. It's still a very reliable low cost power unit that is meeting all the EPA and state regulations. So, to just shut it down would kind of be irresponsible," says Hanson.

He added that another concern is the new proposed EPA rules on existing power plants that is currently in the middle of a 120 day comment period.

Hanson says they will take the time to review the comments that were submitted with the petitions.

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