The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Dunn opposes big generating plant on north Fayette border


Fayette County has "a big problem on our hands" in a proposed power plant on the county border, says County Commission Chairman Greg Dunn.

Dunn and County Attorney Bill McNally met Monday with attorneys and officials of Williams Corp., the company that wants to build the 1,230-megawatt facility on Peters Road between Ga. highways 92 and 138.

Following a town hall meeting in Fulton recently, Dunn said he talked with Fulton County Commission Chairman Mike Kenn and urged him to oppose the company's plans.

The firm wants the Fulton commission to change the zoning of 288 acres from residential to industrial to allow for the plant. The facility would use 30 acres, with the rest devoted to green space, Williams has pledged.

"It depends completely on whether or not Fulton County will rezone to industrial," Dunn said. "If they do, the largest power plant in the country will go right on our border."

Company officials Monday "tried to convince me that it's no big deal and it wasn't going to be a danger to anyone," Dunn told The Citizen Tuesday. But they failed to allay his concerns, he added. "Nothing changed at this point," he said.

During the town hall meeting, Dunn and other Fayette residents aired concerns over air pollution and noise the plant might generate, and company officials admitted the facility could dump as much as 500 tons of nitric oxide into the air each year.

"Citizens' groups are very upset about this," Dunn told fellow commissioners. "They [Fulton] get the money; we get the pollution and the clean air goes to Henry County." (Company officials have promised to improve a Stockbridge facility to reduce pollution as mitigation for the additional pollution coming from the Fulton plant.)

Dunn said after meeting with the company officials, he is even more concerned about the pollution. The 500 tons of nitric oxide, he said, "is equivalent to what 26,000 cars would do over a year. Do you want 26,000 cars outside your back yard?"

He urged the company to conduct a town hall meeting in Fayette to present information and get comments from local residents, but he said the company wants to meet with community leaders in the north Fayette area first.

"It was a good meeting," he said, with company officials vowing to try and convince Dunn that there is no danger from the plant.

But even if there's not, he said, he still opposes putting the massive plant where the Williams company wants to put it, because it's between two residential areas.

County officials will continue to review environmental impact information supplied by Williams' consultants, and Dunn said if necessary he will ask the County Commission to authorize hiring its own consultant to advise the county.

Fulton commissioners are expected to take up the matter late this summer.