- The Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign turned its focus to Minnesota Power, which according to the group has violated smokestack emission standards 12,000 times at three northern Minnesota plants.
- The main problem is “opacity,” the environmental group said, and high opacity means presence of soot. But the utility – and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency – say the Sierra Club is wrong and no emission permits have been violated. According to Minnesota Power, the plants operate within permit limits 99.7% of the time.
- The Sierra Club said the plants “seem to have significant operational problems with their pollution controls” for removing mercury and other pollutants.
The Sierra Club’s $50 million Beyond Coal campaign has targeted numerous companies with lawsuits for emission violations, often negotiating settlements that result in cleanup, plant closures and switches to natural gas fueling and renewables. In nearby Wisconsin, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Wisconsin Public Service and other utilities agreed to $1.1 billion in environmental upgrades and $3.4 million in fines. In its coal plant “countdown,” the Sierra Club says: "163 retired, 360 to go."