Monday, November 05, 2007

Coal plant foe challenges emissions data


WISCASSET — The Conservation Law Foundation, a Brunswick-based group that opposes the proposed Twin River Energy Center, issued a release today to assert that outdated data and "statistical flaws" in a report commissioned by backers of the plant "severely underestimate" the amount of carbon dioxide the plant will release into the atmosphere.

The report, prepared by Potomac-Hudson Engineering for Twin Rivers Energy, was released Oct. 24 and claimed the "mine-to-wheels" study showed the proposed coal gasification plant could achieve emission levels "equal to or lower than" natural gas power plants. Electric generation plants powered by gas are considered the cleanest of all fossil fuels.

The Conservation Law Foundation conducted its own review of the report and concluded that Potomac-Hudson used faulty data when comparing the proposed plant's carbon dioxide emissions to other power plants. Specifically, when using the Department of Energy's 2007 baseline data for fossil-fueled power plants, CLF staff attorney Steve Hinchman says Twin River inflated carbon dioxide emissions from new natural gas plants by 37 percent.

"Using the DOE's data," Hinchman said, "the proposed Wiscasset coal gasification plant would produce more carbon dioxide than a natural gas plant plus a refinery in all scenarios."

Hinchman said the proposed refinery if built would be "the largest global warming polluter in Maine."

Sarah Forbes, of Potomac-Hudson Engineering, Inc. which prepared the report said she hadn't seen the CLF figures.

"I do know that the EPA figures we used come from the Department of Energy originally," she said.

Potomac-Hudson plans to issue a written statement after viewing the CLF press release.

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