Coal-firing plant’s permit hearing Thursday

Published 3:06 pm Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s permit hearing on the proposed Longleaf coal fired power plant in Early County will be Thursday, July 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The hearing, which some residents in Decatur County said they had planned to attend, will be at the Early County High School, located at 12020 Columbia St. in Blakely.

Opponents of the plant say the 1,200-mega-watt Longleaf plant would emit more than 9.7 million tons of carbon dioxide each year and pull 20 million gallons of water per day from the Chattahoochee River each day.

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The state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) will conduct a public hearing on the permit proposed for the Longleaf Energy Station (Longleaf), which was first proposed by the New Jersey-based LS Power in 2001. 

EPD is holding the hearing because it issued two permit amendments to Longleaf in April 2010, but failed to allow adequate public notice and comment on one of the amendments as required by state and federal law. 

The new permit amendment addressing hazardous air pollutants was significantly different from that originally proposed. The most important change was that EPD relaxed the allowable pollution levels for the plant by re-classifying it as a “minor source” of pollution rather than a major source.

Prior to the hearing, a public informational session will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Band Room of the Early County High School.

Speakers will share information on all emissions proposed for the plant, including 88 pounds of mercury. The plant will also emit a large amount of sooty particulate matter (PM). In addition, the Longleaf permit allows for the emission of 1,936 pounds of lead; 2,689 tons of NOx; and 5,647 tons of SO2.

Written comments from the public are due to EPD by July 6. They should be addressed to Mr. Eric Cornwell, Air Protection Branch, Environmental Protection Division, 4244 International Parkway, Atlanta Tradeport – Suite 120, Atlanta, GA 30354. E-mail: