According to the American Lung Association, “Each year 24,000 premature deaths, 550,000 asthma attacks, 38,000 heart attacks and 12,000 hospital admissions are attributed to Coal Plant pollution”.
The Sherburne County Generating Station (Sherco), located about 45 minutes northwest of the Twin Cities in Becker, Minnesota, is the largest of Xcel Energy’s generating facilities. It “burns 30,000 tons of coal every day (three trainloads) and more than nine million tons a year.” In addition to releasing pollutants that cause health problems like childhood asthma and toxic mercury that pollutes lakes and rivers, units 1 and 2 at the plant are also Minnesota’s biggest carbon polluters, pumping more than eight million tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has required Xcel to examine the costs of continuing to burn coal at Sherco 1 and 2, and compare them to the costs of replacing the units with cleaner energy. Xcel’s own study shows that in every scenario that calculates a reasonable cost of carbon pollution from the plant, it makes more economic sense to retire the plant and move from coal to new clean energy.
Xcel concludes, however, that it can pollute our air and water for free. It proposes to keep burning coal at Sherco for decades to come.
The Public Utilities Commission is now accepting public comments and will decide whether Sherco continues to put our health and future at risk by burning coal. Your opinion matters. You have an historic opportunity to impact their decision today.
Thousands of Minnesotans have told us that protecting our air, our water, and the health of our families is a top concern. Please take a minute to email the PUC and help Xcel energy kick a 30,000 ton a day habit. Together, we can protect the Minnesota you love.