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Second Power Plant Seeks Permit

July 10, 2008

By Janet Jacobs, Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas

Jul. 10–A second proposed Navarro County power plant has filed for an air emissions permit in Austin. The Navarro Generating LLC requested a state permit on June 27, according to Andrea Morrow, spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The plant wants to use natural gas to generate about 690 megawatts of power, which would be about half the size of the proposed Pin Oak Creek Energy plant, which is also seeking an air permit.

“The administrative review is still ongoing,” said Eric Hendrickson, combustion team leader in the air permits division of the T.C.E.Q. “We’ve just received it, so we haven’t looked at any technical information.”

The Navarro Generating LLC is a subdivision of Babcock & Brown, a San Francisco-based investment company, according to filings with the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

The company has submitted some early emissions proposals, but those aren’t likely to be the final figures, Hendrickson said.

“Proposed numbers aren’t necessarily the final numbers,” he said. “It was the same thing with Pin Oak. Obviously, when someone submits an application we review it, and by the time it gets down the road a lot of times those emission rates come down.”

A normal power-generating application might take nine months to a year before a permit could be issued. If a permit meets resistance, it can take twice that long, Hendrickson said.

“In the area right now, based on the amount of public participation we’re seeing on the other application, the process could take longer,” Hendrickson said. “With significant public participation, it could take up to two years.”

The application will go through an administrative review, then there will be a 30-day window for public comments, and then begins the technical review. Pin Oak, which first applied back in December, is currently undergoing its technical review.

“Pin Oak hasn’t even finished the technical part yet,” Hendrickson said. “We’re waiting on their modeling report, then we’ll draft a permit and move on. It does take awhile.”

“The emissions on Pin Oak came down quite a bit,” he added.

If constructed, the Navarro Generating plant would be worth about $600 million and employ about two dozen people. The Pin Oak project is estimated to be worth $1 billion, and would employ about 30 people.

Four cities and some business groups have endorsed the power plants, and the tax abatements and water sales that are needed to entice the power plants here. Frost and Kerens endorsed the plants in early June, while the city councils in Dawson and Rice approved it this week. On Tuesday, the Corsicana Apartment Association, with 60 members in Navarro, Henderson and Freestone counties also put their stamp of approval on the projects, according to Larry Hutson. The Navarro/Corsicana Chamber of Commerce sent out a survey to its membership, and voted to support the projects based on that informal poll. Navarro First is an organization formed to raise money and awareness to support the plants.

Fighting against the power plants is a group calling itself Citizens Opposing Power Plants, which has already begun a letter-writing campaign against the state permits, a tax abatement and the sale of water by the City of Corsicana.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com

Proposed power plant emission levels:

Emission Pin Oak Creek Navarro Generating

NOx 521 289

CO 3,259 2,104

VOC 294 264

PPM 367 172

SO2 228 146

All figures are tons per year. NOx is nitric oxide, SO2 is sulfur dioxide, CO is carbon monoxide, VOC is volatile organic compounds, PPM is particulate matter.

The Pin Oak Creek figures are based on a Siemens turbine, one of three possible turbine models.

Sources: Pin Oak Creek application, revised June 3; Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas

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