Locals Opposed to Jessup Power Plant Question Emissions “Credits”

Invenergy is currently building the Lackawanna Energy Center, a 1,480 megawatt plant in Jessup, PA (near Scranton) that will cost “well over $1 billion” according to an exclusive MDN source working on the project. When the plant is done (first phase ready sometime this month), and when it goes online (to be determined), it will be Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas-fired electric generating plant. Unfortunately, a group of Democrats got themselves elected to the Jessup Borough Council specifically to try and block the completion of the project (see Jessup Town Board Continues Effort to Stop Gas-Fired Elec Plant). They just took office in January and already have thrown up roadblocks. Wednesday the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection held a hearing about the facility’s potential impacts on local (and regional) air quality. Some three dozen folks showed up to trash talk the project. They’re questioning the plant’s Emission Reduction Credits (ERC). This plant will put some bad stuff in the air (small quantities), as all electric generating plants do. In order to “offset” the negatives of putting those small quantities of bad stuff in the air, the plant must purchase ERCs. That is, someone somewhere else will sell their “right” to emit the same bad stuff (i.e. pollute) in return for cash. That’s a grossly oversimplified and perhaps not totally accurate way to say it–but it serves the purpose of understanding the complex issue of ERCs. At the DEP hearing, those who oppose the plant were questioning the ERCs for this facility. Their argument is, maybe the air quality in the entire region will benefit from having a clean-burning natgas-fired plant, but will that benefit for the region (and country) be at the expense of making the air worse for the neighbors who live near the plant? As much as we disagree with those who oppose this project, their question is valid and important…

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