Proposed coal plant in Early Co. moves forward - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Proposed coal plant in Early Co. moves forward

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

BLAKELY, GA (WALB) –A coal fired plant in Early County is one step closer to being built. The EPD has issued the final permit needed for construction to begin on the Longleaf facility.

According to the EPD, the amended permit lists the facility as a minor source for Hazardous Air Pollutants, reduces the allowable mercury emissions, and extends the commencement of construction deadline date and the completion of construction deadline date.

The fight over a proposed two billion dollar, 1,200 mega watt coal plant in Early County has gone on for years. 

"Personally and corporately we are anti-coal," said Gordon Rogers, Executive Director of the Flint RiverKeeper.

 "I see it as a win win situation," said Olin Thompson, owner of Thompson's Motors and a supporter of the plant.

And the fight may not be over yet. This week the Environmental Protection division issued yet another permit for the proposed Longleaf plant. "This permit is basically the third iteration of the air permit," said Rogers.

Regulators first approved Longleaf's energy project three years ago, but it stalled because of legal challenges.

Those opposed to the plant, like Gordon Rogers, say the pollution and other risks associated with the coal plant are not worth it. "The coal is harmful to humans and the economy at every level."

He believes there is better technology out there to produce energy. "These plants compete directly with anyone else that puts smoke in the air, you and their automobile and plantation managers and their burns," he said.

But those in favor of the plant, like Olin Thompson says the coal plant would help the economy, by bringing in more jobs, attracting more businesses and increase the counties tax base. "They are talking about 800 to 1,000 construction jobs over a five year period and that would be a lot of local people," he said.

Something that is badly needed in the area. "My automobile sales have been steadily going down, I look at all the business around town and I see all these stores closed, and its not just here its Cuthbert, Albany," said Thompson.

If that plant does become a reality, it will be located near the bank of the Chattahoochee River not far from the Georgia Pacific Plant.

Citizen groups have a 30 day window to appeal.

Click here to view a copy of the permit

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