A citizen group that has been a vocal foe of an Invenergy affiliate’s plans to build a 1,500-MW combined-cycle natural gas power plant in Pennsylvania said Jan. 19 that it is abandoning its legal fight against the project.
“The Appellants of Citizens for a Healthy Jessup have come to the heart-wrenching conclusion that the two (2) pending Zoning Appeals against the Borough of Jessup and the Lackawanna Energy Center are to be withdrawn,” the citizen organization said in a news release.
“While we hold our truth that our case was solid and strong and the Appeals were not frivolous, a recent Petition for an Appeal Bond and Sanctions filed against the Appellants by the Lackawanna Energy Center required each Appellant to make a very tough decision,” the group said.
“This Petition which included the possibility of having to pay sanctions and attorney’s fees incurred by Invenergy could have cost the Appellants hundreds of thousands of dollars including liens on their homes. The recent actions of certain Jessup Council Members and the political climate of Lackawanna County were major factors in our decision making,” the group said.
“While we do not favor this plant and do not believe the zoning change was legal, the reality of going against a multi-million dollar corporation and millionaire landowner with zero help from any of our elected officials, both Federal and State, along with the dire state of politics and news media in Lackawanna County, was far too great a burden on the Appellants and their property,” the citizens group said.
A majority of the Jessup Borough Council voted last summer to modify a local zoning ordinance to allow the power plant to go forward.
A “comment response document” filed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) last fall indicated that the project appears to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Lackawanna Energy was required to perform an air quality dispersion modeling analysis under federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements, DEP noted.
Lackawanna Energy Center conducted additional impact analyses for the project, which included a visibility impairment analysis for five state parks within 50 kilometers of the project site.
“The Department has determined that, after consideration of all comments received and revisions to the Plan Approval, the available information indicates that Lackawanna Energy Center, LLC can construct an electrical generation plant with associated control devices in Jessup Borough, Lackawanna County,” DEP concluded.