Questions about proposed plant

To the editor:

This is regarding the proposed Brooke power plant project:

My wife, Frances, and I will be traveling to Charleston to testify before the W.Va. Public Utilities Commission in October.

Current plans are to build a gas-fired power plant across the street from my house on the Cross Creek Wildlife Management Area near the intersection of Follansbee Eldersville Road and Tent Church Road. We have several reasons that we oppose the construction.

First, noise — the plant will consist of two huge gas-powered jet engines, the heat produced will be used to power two steam generators and of course, this will require two huge water cooling units. It will be too much noise in a residential area and game preserve.

Second, pollution — the plant will emit hazardous chemicals into the air in our community.

Third, a tax break totaling $360 million during 30 years, the expected life of the plant. That’s a huge tax-break for an expected 30 permanent jobs that will compete directly with other area power producers. This plant is not a friend of coal. Net job gains should be a wash.

Fourth, infrastructure and planning. Normally, a plant like this would be located in or near an industrial park. The reason is that the infrastructure is in place to provide the building blocks necessary to attract additional jobs. Here in the middle of the WVDNR site, we have none of these — no river, road, rail, water, sewage or high-speed Internet. Previous proposed sites were near the river where there is plenty of vacant land available for development. This type of poor planning leads us to question if there are other motives at play.

Fifth, union construction jobs are at stake here. I am a staunch union supporter. Construction jobs are by nature temporary, so I would ask union supporters to think of the cost to the local community after their work is completed. Wouldn’t a properly planned project in a suitable location that would attract new businesses to the area and good-paying permanent jobs make better sense?

Sixth, where will the power go? The transmission lines will carry the power produced with our gas and our tax incentives off into Pennsylvania, New York and beyond to help fuel expansion in those communities. Again, our resources are siphoned off and we are left high and dry with a hole to fill.

Seventh, a wildlife preserve is an attraction for residents as well as business looking for areas to locate.

Eighth, imagine that we take control of our natural gas reserves, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to locate our power plant near a first-class industrial park on the river with electric, water, sewage, highways, rail and high-speed Internet. Revenues from a county-owned power project and industrial park could entice new businesses and fund a highly educated work force, affordable housing, beautiful parks, clean air and water. Who wouldn’t want to live in our community?

Thank you for considering our point of view.

Joseph Olenick