New Coal Plant Proposed, Opposed in Ben Hill County
Power4Georgians, a consortium of electric cooperatives, announced plans to construct yet another coal-fired plant in south-central Ben Hill County.
The 850-megawatt plant would be located on the Ocmulgee River near Fitzgerald and north of the proposed Plant Washington near Sandersville.
“If proposed Plant Ben Hill is anything like its cousin in middle Georgia, Plant Washington, we can expect more than a hundred pounds of mercury to enter our air every year from this plant,” Deborah Sheppard, executive director of Altamaha Riverkeeper, said in a press release. “Much of this mercury would further contaminate the fish and our families in the Altamaha River basin.”
Georgians For Smart Energy has this:
While these plans have been kept quiet and the public is just learning about them, the proposal to create Plant Ben Hill is active, according to Dean Alford, president of Allied Energy Services (AES) and spokesman for Power4Georgians. Alford recently met with members of the Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE) and noted that he was developing Plant Ben Hill as well as Plant Washington. Conservative cost estimates for construction of both proposed coal-burning plants is more than $4.6 billion – more than $13,800 in debt for each of the 333,133 EMC members in the Power4Georgians consortium.
“Large-scale coal combustion at the headwaters of the Satilla River would create mercury pollution which would be deposited throughout the Satilla watershed,” John Carswell, acting executive director of Satilla Riverkeeper, said. “If they build a coal-fired plant in Ben Hill County, I don’t know if folks around here will be able to eat anything out of the Satilla. Our river has fed families for generations. We don’t want to lose our river.”
Read more about what Georgians For Smart Energy have to say about Plant Ben Hill here. Power4Georgians has this fact sheet about Plant Washington while the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies has a report that refutes some of these findings.