Coal plant application rejected

10 September 2007 — The Oklahoma Corporation Commission rejected a request from utilities that they be allowed to move ahead with plans to build a coal-fired power plant in northern Oklahoma. By a 2-1 vote, the regulatory commission turned down the request from Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co., American Electric-Power Service Company of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority. The plant was estimated to cost about $1.8 billion.

Chesapeake Energy Corp., which produces natural gas, called on regulators to deny the request, saying natural gas burns cleaner than coal and is in abundance in the region, while the coal would have to be brought in from Wyoming.

Utility officials said the power plant was needed to keep up with growing consumer demand for electricity. They said coal is far less expensive than natural gas, modern coal-fired plants burn much cleaner than older plants and it is best not to rely too heavily on any one power source, such as natural gas.