Visual & Noise
What You Can Do
Reasons to Oppose GenPower's Longview Power Plant
Longview would be the third coal-burning power plant in Monongalia County and the eighth in this immediate area. GenPower LLC, the company seeking approval to build the Longview power plant, develops such facilities through the design, permitting, and financing stages. Then they find another company to build and operate the plant. GenPower has negotiated a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement with Monongalia County’s Development Authority, County Commission, and Board of Education. In the PILOT agreement, in lieu of paying up to $9 million annually in property taxes, Mon County would theoretically own the Longview facility, making it exempt from taxes. However, the plant will be used as collateral for loans, and so the bank will really own the plant. What happens when the loan defaults? The company that ultimately owns Longview Power will pay the county a pre-negotiated amount of money, supposedly over 30 to 33 years. Yet the agreement the County unwittingly signed actually allows Longview to pay regular property taxes before the 30 or 33-year period is up, if that would be cheaper for them due to depreciation and other factors. This results in Longview paying the County far less than its full share of taxes. For additional financial details and history on the project go to the Background or Updates links.
Negative Environmental and Health Effects of the Proposed Plant
- The plant will emit sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, lead, arsenic, and mercury in addition to other hazardous organic compounds such as benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.
- Nitrogen oxides produce ozone, and the ozone levels in the Morgantown area are currently relatively high.
- These are the estimated emissions from GenPower’s own Air Permit application (a copy is at the Morgantown Public Library and is available online at: www.genpower.net/longview/environmental.html: Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) 3,217 tons per year, Carbon Monoxide 2,950 tons per year, Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) 2,220 tons per year, Particulate Matter (PM10) 512 tons per year, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 101 tons per year, Benzene (included in VOCs above) 1.48 tons per year, Lead 958 pounds per year, Arsenic 934 pounds per year, Mercury 128 pounds per year, among others
- The people most at risk will be children, the elderly, and individuals who have existing lung problems. West Virginia is already the fifth-worst state in the country for asthma, and the Charleston Daily Mail article states that "more than 20 percent of school-age children had been diagnosed with asthma as of last year." Another study, released by the California Air Resources Board in January 2002, showed that ozone not only makes existing asthma worse, it can cause asthma in children.
- Pollution from the plant would affect Shenandoah National Park and Wilderness Areas such as Dolly Sods and Otter Creek.
Negative Aesthetic Aspects of the Proposed Plant
- The site for the Longview plant (just north of Morgantown in Fort Martin, West Virginia -- see map) is at a relatively high elevation. Aside from broadcast antennae, the 550-foot stack will be the tallest structure in West Virginia. It will be visible over a range of some 20 miles, including from Cooper’s Rock and many people’s homes.
- Emissions from the plant will increase haze and decrease visibility.
Negative Economic Effects of the Proposed Plant
A study of the economic impact of the Longview plant claims that the power plant will be economically beneficial due to the creation of new jobs and indirect economic benefits from its construction. However, a number of problems undermine the credibility of this study:
- The study was performed by entering a small amount of data regarding the construction of a “utility” (not specifying a coal-fired power plant or even a power plant) into a computer program without considering any potential costs to the community.
- There is no written record of the analysis, so assumptions and input data cannot be examined and verified.
- Much of the construction investment would actually be for the purchase of equipment, such as boilers and turbines. Since these are not manufactured in West Virginia, it would be of limited economic benefit to us.
- There is no assurance that the jobs that would be created would go to residents of Monongalia County. The unemployment rate in Monongalia County is one of the lowest in the nation (3% in January 2004), and the employment level of Monongalia County construction workers is currently relatively high. Such projects as Phase One of the Ruby Memorial Hospital expansion in Morgantown, the Institute of Scientific Research in Fairmont, and the new United Hospital Center hospital in Clarksburg are hiring construction workers now or will be hiring them soon. In light of these facts, it is unlikely that many of the jobs would go to individuals who live in and pay property taxes in Monongalia County. Yet it is the residents of Monongaila County who are giving Longview a huge tax break and who will be saddled with the pollution from the power plant for the next 30 to 50 years.
- Coal is planned to be delivered to the plant (if it is ever built) from Pennsylvania by conveyor and truck. Click here for a map of the 4-mile-long conveyor: Coal Conveyor and Truck Routes Map.
- GenPower/Longview Power has refused to guarantee that jobs (nonunion jobs) from coal mining would be in West Virginia. Three of the five mines which plan to provide coal to the power plant are located in Pennsylvania.
- There are a number of residential properties in and around the proposed building site. Property values would be decreased in Baker’s Ridge, Fort Martin, Stewartstown, and other nearby areas.
- Morgantown has exceeded federal air quality health guidelines on several days over the past year. If violations of air standards continue, major economic consequences would occur. It would decrease the federal monies for which we are eligible. Certain types of new industries would be unable to locate here.
- The plant will create a negative image of Morgantown, adversely affecting the ability of West Virginia University and other employers to recruit and retain high-quality employees.
- There will be economic costs from the negative health impacts due to the proposed plant.
What can you do?
Things are moving quickly. Contact the Monongalia County Commission NOW and voice your concerns. This is not a done deal! Contact information is listed below:
Monongalia County Commission Commissioners John Pyles, Robert Bell, Asel Kennedy
Monongalia County Courthouse
243 High Street
Morgantown, WV 26505
E-mail (same for all three Commissioners):
Here is a list of other people to contact. PLEASE WRITE A LETTER, MAKE A PHONE CALL, AND SEND AN E-MAIL MESSAGE !
Here are some other ways to HELP US!!!!
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LONGVIEW IS SHORT SIGHTED!