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Great Lakes Article:

Xcel targeted by coalition for carbon dioxide emissions
Susan E. Peterson
Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), which represents environmental, investor and advocacy groups, said Tuesday that it has filed proxy resolutions related to global warming against five utilities, including Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc.

The Boston-based coalition claims the utilities, which it dubs the "filthy five," are the nation's five biggest utility emitters of carbon dioxide, which has been linked to global warming. Others on the list are American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio; Southern Co. of Atlanta; Cinergy Corp. of Cincinnati, and TXU Corp. of Dallas.

CERES spokeswoman Nicole St. Clair said the group plans a news conference on Thursday and won't disclose until then how it determined the target companies nor what the resolutions are seeking.

Xcel spokesman Ed Legge said the company has received a number of shareholder proxy proposals but can't comment on specific resolutions until it sends out its annual proxy statements to shareholders in mid-April.

"We'll match our emissions record with any utility in the country," Legge said. "Our emissions rate per megawatt hour is nowhere near the top of the list, compared with other utilities."

A previous CERES report, issued in March, listed Xcel as the fifth-largest U.S. utility in terms of megawatts of electricity generated during 2000. The report listed Xcel as No. 4 in total emissions of carbon dioxide for 2000, but ranked it 39th in terms of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour.

Because the largest utilities logically would have the most total emissions, the rate per megawatt hour is the "true barometer of what a utility has done to reduce emissions," Legge said. He also noted that Xcel has committed to spend $1 billion during the next several years to convert two Twin Cities coal-fired power plants to natural gas, lowering carbon dioxide and other emissions substantially, and to upgrade a third coal plant to significantly reduce emissions. It also has made similar improvements at its Denver - area plants, he said.

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