Governors to get anti-coal valentines

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CEDAR CITY - Love is in the air - and for the air - in southern Utah.

Clean-air activists and others plan to send hundreds of heart-shaped valentines to the governors of Utah and Nevada urging them to oppose plans for a $1.3 billion coal-fired power plant near Mesquite, Nev.

Students wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "Love your air, stop Toquop" will pass out 250 of the handcrafted valentines at a rally tonight at St. George's Grace Episcopal Church.

Attendees then will jot down their objections to the planned 750-megawatt Toquop plant. Half the hearts will go to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.; half will go to Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Plant foe Lin Alder, executive director of Citizens for Dixie's Future, said former Utah Gov. Olene Walker and Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, head of Utah's Episcopal Diocese, are expected to address the rally.

Alder encourages residents to speak out against the planned plant at a public hearing Thursday in Mesquite. He warns that pollutants drifting eastward from the power plant, including mercury and sulfur dioxide, could harm residents downwind.

But Sithe Global Power officials, who expect the plant to deliver needed energy to the booming region, argue that state-of-the-art technology will minimize any health effects.

Rally tonight, hearing Thursday

* Anti-coal-plant forces will hold a rally tonight at 6 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 1072 E. 900 South, St. George.

* A public hearing will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. PST (7 p.m. MST) at Mesquite (Nev.) City Hall on a permit from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection for the proposed Toquop power plant.

About the plant

* Company: Sithe Global Power

* Size: 750-megawatt coal-fired power plant

* Location: 12 miles northwest of Mesquite, Nev., and about 40 miles southwest of St. George.

* Cost: About $1.3 billion.

* Jobs: About 800 construction workers and about 110 plant operators.

Source: Toquop Energy Project