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Power Plant Project Delayed
by Alan Olson
MOUNDSVILLE - An official representing the developers of the Moundsville Power natural gas electricity project spoke before the Marshall County Commission Tuesday morning, saying the plant is set to begin construction, aside from pending legal action.
Spokesman Curtis Wilkerson told commissioners construction on the natural gas plant, which was expected to begin this month, is currently on hold pending litigation from the Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance. This coal industry-backed group filed appeals against Moundsville Power's air quality permit, granted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Filed last year, the alliance's complaint claims the plant will produce emissions in excess of regulations.
Wilkerson was unable to say when work will resume, even in a best-case scenario for Moundsville Power, but estimated that it would likely be months.
"We have to go through things with the legal system at this point, and find out how long that will take," Wilkerson said. "Everything else is in line. We were ready to break ground and have shovels and hardhats in October. ... We think it will be pushed back a few months from today."
Wilkerson said that aside from the appeals, preparations at Moundsville Power were progressing well. He believes the finished project will create an economic boon for the region. The plant is expected to create 400 jobs during construction and employ 30 people full-time. However, alliance officials maintain natural gas-fired plants such as Moundsville Power pose a threat to coal jobs in the area.
Wilkerson said the alliance is the sole remaining obstacle to construction before the scheduled opening on June 1, 2018.
"Their obstruction is the only thing that is keeping this from happening," he said. "We believe the OVJA is doing everything in their power to delay the project."
Commissioners thanked Wilkerson for updating the county on the situation without further comment, before adjourning after an executive session pertaining to the County Assessor's office behind closed doors.