Plans for Spencer Co. coal gasification plant moving forward - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Plans for Spencer Co. coal gasification plant moving forward

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Plans are moving forward in Spencer County regarding the coal gasification plant.     

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management hosted a meeting Tuesday night and many concerned residents showed up.  

The main area of discussion was over the plant dumping wastewater into the Ohio River.

The proposed plant would be constructed on County Road 200 North in Spencer County. The project is expected to create 3000 construction jobs and 500 permanent positions.

"There's going to be people moving here, buying houses, spending their money," said Spencer County resident William Sanders.

Sanders has been an iron worker for 34 years, but his support for the project was outnumbered Tuesday night at the plant's wastewater permit hearing.  

Many residents came all the way from Vanderburgh County to express their concerns over the plant dumping water into the Ohio River.

"It just unnecessary and foolish to add stain on a river that supplies drinking water to so many people," said Vanderburgh County resident Carol Oglesby.

"This is just adding one more dirty coal project to the mix," said Thomas Pearce, a Sierra Club representative.

Under the wastewater permit, state officials say water will be monitored for excessive levels of oil, grease, mercury, iron and other elements. But some residents question having the plant report its own levels.

"Industry isn't able to monitor itself. When the fox is allowed to guard the chicken coup, they're going to steal all the chickens," Pearce said.

State officials say all comments will be considered and responded to during a final permit phase.

"I think the state will step up to the plate if there's enough pressure put on them, which is what we're all here to help do," Sanders said.

The plant was approved for its air permit on June 27th. If the wastewater permit meets all state and federal requirements, IDEM will grant the permit.  

Public comment will be taken through July 16th.  

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