Wisconsin Supreme Court agrees to hear
power plant appeal
Published in the Duluth News Tribune January 5th, 2005
MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed Wednesday
to take up a lawsuit seeking to stop construction of two
coal-fired power plants on the Lake Michigan shore in
The state Public Service Commission and We Energies asked
the court last month to directly overturn a ruling from
Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan, who said state
regulators were too quick to approve We Energies' application
to construct the new plants near its existing coal-fired
generators in Oak Creek.
Flanagan said the commission failed to require the company
to get necessary permits or force it to study alternate
plans for the $2.15 billion project.
The Supreme Court agreed to allow the case to bypass
the state appeals court and scheduled oral arguments March
The PSC and We Energies claim Flanagan's ruling could
substantially delay work on the coal-fired generators,
driving up ratepayers' bills and crippling the state's
power grid. Construction was slated to begin in early
The company also argues the state could face a capacity
shortfall of nearly 1,000 megawatts without the plants.
That would force more reliance on natural gas-produced
power, driving up fuel costs and creating competition
for winter heating fuel.
The environmental group Clean Wisconsin and S.C. Johnson
& Son Inc. of Racine filed the lawsuit to stop the
Opponents have expressed concerns about air pollution
from the use of coal as fuel and the utility's plan to
withdraw 2.2 billion gallons of water a day from Lake
Michigan, run it through boilers to generate electricity
and return it to the lake 15 degrees warmer.