UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Friday, June 1st, 301 AP.

Power station plans are on hold - President

President Okarvits had put a hold on plans by the Conservative government of Lasanne state to construct two new coal and gas fired power stations, prompting outrage from Industry groups and the Governor.

Governor Hope, the caretaker President before President Okarvits, has agreed two major construction projects in Utania with Industry groups and major construction corporations, to build two new thermal power stations to fuel Lasanne state's ever-growing demand for power. A second nuclear power station is also under consideration, for a total capital cost of over Û3.6 billion, and provision for over 15,000 construction jobs.

However, President Okarvits has ordered the construction be postponed, or he will issue an executive order to cancel them. The President has ultimate authority over the states under the constitution, and only the Parliament can overrule him. The action has incited a furious response from industry groups and the Governor.

The President called Governor Hope, and then announced the action to awaiting press this afternoon. He said that his objection stemmed from the "enormous environmental cost that will be experienced through the method of generation". President Okarvits then explained that the two new power stations would produce "approximately 200,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide" each year, and had a University of Luka professor of Environmental science confirm this.

"We cannot, as a nation committed to this land, continue to inflict damage to it, damage to the sky, to the ecology or the soil. A nation wide strategy is required to combat the two issues at stake here, being the need for additional power generation, and the need to provide this in an environmentally sustainable manner, and I have asked the Governor to halt his plans until this strategy can be developed, evaluated and implemented." The President also stated that additional nuclear reactors in Utania was an "extremely tenuous concept".

Though the speech rang bells of celebration amongst green groups nationwide, and had strong support from Utani politicians in the Parliament, it prompted furious indignation from the Governor and the corporations involved in the construction and planning.

"President Okarvits has overstepped the boundaries of sanity here, and is stirring the pot for a fight with industry in this country", declared a Fiennes Construction spokesman, representing the consortium that assisted the Governor in planning. Governor Hope was less adversarial with the President, but conceded that "it is a very strange action to take when his government is facing an election in five weeks, and voters in Lasanne are facing massive power shortages in the next year."

Many of Lasanne state's generators are running at near there limit, and voltage drops have been experienced by some rural cities. The next step, warned a Power Industry spokesman, will be load shedding ("brown outs") and power rationing, events not experienced by the people of Lasanne state since the 60s.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)