Clean Air Council covered in Williamsport Sun-Gazette article: 'Absolutely Not'; Many Oppose Power Plant
Numerous people Thursday night expressed their opposition to Moxie Energy's plans to build a power plant in Clinton Township. The state Department of Environmental Protection hearing was held to allow public comment on the project, and many people made it clear they oppose it for environmental reasons.
"This plant will be basically in my back yard," said Linda Scott, of Clinton Township. "No, I do not want to live with all this going on. Absolutely not."
Scott said she already has experienced the industrial effects of other companies along the Route 405 corridor between Muncy and Montgomery.Noise, traffic and health problems, she said, have worsened in recent years in the area.
"What's it going to be like in two years?" she asked.
Many others questioned the problems that may arise from plant emissions if it's built. Gretchen Alfonso, of Philadelphia, a pregnant mother of two children, cautioned against ground level ozone and other air quality problems that can lead to respiratory problems.
DEP officials must approve an air quality plan prior to clearing the way for plant construction. Moxie is developing an 800-megawatt combined cycle power plant fueled by natural gas. Moxie President Aaron Samson told the audience that the availability of local natural gas deposits made it feasible for the company to locate in the township.
"We are hoping to start construction this year," he said.
He said the plant will provide jobs both in construction of the plant and permanent employment for others. With coal plants set to close in coming years, there will be a demand for alternative sources of electricity, he explained. The electricity will be delivered into a regional grid covering 13 states.
Terry Peck, of the Central Pennsylvania Building and Trades Council, said he supported the plant for the jobs it could bring. He said union workers are the best people for meeting the exacting standards of such a project.
"We believe the project will be clean, safe and efficient," he added.
Jason Fink, of the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, said his organization supported the project as well.
"We are pleased to see this type of development happening," he said.
But Elizabeth Arnold, of Philadelphia, said it represents yet another investment in fossil fuel energy.
David Robinson, a former Montgomery resident now living in Philadelphia, said he'd love to move back to his native Lycoming County but fears pollution is becoming worse.
"Natural gas is not clean no matter how you slice it," he said. "There's already terrible air quality."
Kevin Heatley, an environmental scientist, said greenhouse gases caused by plant emissions will trigger various health problems, including asthma. He said the hearing likely will have no bearing on how DEP weighs the application process.
"I have a big problem with DEP," he said.
Matt Walker, of the Clean Air Council, challenged Moxie to provide documentation of the need for the plant.
Barb Jarmoska, of Gamble Township, said chemical pollutants from the plant will pose harmful, even dangerous effects for the public.
"Our children are in crisis," she said.
Michael Ochs, of Williamsport, said greenhouse gases already are on the rise.
"To be a patriot nowadays, one needs to be green," he said.
DEP will continue to accept written testimony from the public until Monday, Jan. 14. The testimony can be sent to: Department of Environmental Resources, Air Quality Program Manager, 208 W. Third St., Williamsport, PA 17701.
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