Groups seeks records tied to utility plant project

Turn 'em over

January 19, 2009
Four Indiana public interest groups are complaining Gov. Mitch Daniels is ignoring a public records request they made Oct. 29 regarding Daniels' support of a Duke Energy coal gasification plant being built in Edwardsport.

Citizens Action Coalition, Common Cause Indiana, Valley Watch and Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter seek information about any financial support Duke provided to an energy summit held by Daniels last September.

Daniels has been a supporter of the $2.3 billion coal gasification plant, which will be able to burn Indiana coal but produce less harmful emissions than traditional coal-fired power plants. Opponents say the price tag does not include the cost of capturing and storing carbon dioxide underground.

The groups allege that Daniels unduly pressured the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to approve the plant. They also seek evidence of improper communication between Duke and the IURC.

"Instead of an objective decision-making process conducted at arm's length, we have the appearance here of the Edwardsport plant proposal being 'hard-wired' for Duke by the Daniels administration," said Grant Smith, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition.

He said 2-1/2 months is more than enough time for the Governor's Office to reply to the public records request.

"We continue to work on their expansive request and will respond. Had the organizations asked us for an update, we would have been glad to provide one," said Daniels spokeswoman Jane Jankowski.
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