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Supporters rally in Madison for Cassville power plant

About 200 people rallied in Madison Wednesday in favor of a proposed coal-fired power plant on the Mississippi River in Cassville.

Farmers, union leaders, and environmentalists got behind the Alliant Energy project in the face of rising costs and public opposition.

The supporters said it would create hundreds of construction jobs and 40 full-time plant positions, at a time when unemployment is a growing concern.

Up to 20 percent of the plant's electricity would be generated from things like wood, cornstalks, and switch grass.

Matt Krumenauer of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives says the new plant would rely on local bio-fuels, thus keeping more money at home.

But some environmental and consumer groups question adding coal-fired plant emissions with all the concern about global warming.

Alliant says it would offset the emissions with more energy efficient, and a shutdown of Alliant's coal-fired boiler in Sheboygan.

Katie Nekola of Clean Wisconsin says we need to reduce greenhouse gases instead of off-setting them. And she doubts the utility's trade-offs would work anyway. This week, Alliant told securities officials the plant's price tag as grown from $1.2 billion to $1.3.

The state Public Service Commission will hold hearings on the project this month in Cassville and Portage.