2009-08-05 / Front Page

EPD public hearing provides Q & A op

New Pilot Club state officers, Marcia King and Barbara Wright display their banners received upon installation. New Pilot Club state officers, Marcia King and Barbara Wright display their banners received upon installation. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division hosted a forum July 28 attended by approximately 100 people to discuss EPD's intent to issue a case-by-case Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) air quality operating permit amendment to Longleaf Energy Associates.

EPD and Longleaf Energy Associates representatives made brief presentations before a question-and-answer session during which a number of attendees questioned the EPD officials and expressed their opposition to the facility.

Immediately following the Q&A session, EPD held a public hearing to receive formal comments regarding the proposed permit amendment.

Many of the attendees, most representing environmental organizations, came from across the state to express their opposition. Most notable was Rep. Debbie Buckner of Talbotton and Rep. Dubose Porter of Dublin who both urged EPD officials not to grant an extension for the Longleaf air permit.

The deadline for construction to commence under the original permit was July 21. Longleaf has requested EPD to grant an 18-month extension due to delays caused by litigation.

Buckner introduced a resolution during the 2008 legislature in an attempt to place a moratorium on the construc- tion of the Longleaf coal fired plant. The resolution failed to make its way out of the house Natural Resources committee.

Porter, a leader in the legislature for environmental causes and Democratic candidate for governor, expressed concern over the proposed plant's mercury emissions and stated Georia should be generating electricity using biomass facilities.

He noted Georgia has over 23 million acres of timber and is actually exporting wood pellets used for power generation.

Early County Development Authority chairman Olin Thompson spoke in support of the power plant. "The development authority stands behind this project, and I think LS Power will comply with the law."

EPD originally issued the air permit in 2007. The MACT amendment adds new requirements to the permit based on the case-by-case MACT determination, also known as the Notice of MACT approval.

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