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Gas could replace coal at Sigurd plant

The Carbon Plant in Price Canyon, built during the 1950s, escaped the uproar surrounding new Sigurd plant construction.

Richfield Reaper associate editor

While the fuel source has changed, some people's feelings about the proposal to build a power plant near Sigurd have not.

People were given an opportunity to voice their opinions about the proposal during a recent public hearing.Changing the type of the fuel the plant uses also changes the size of the plant, making it much smaller, said Rod Clark, principal for Nevco Energy, the company behind the proposal.

"The coal plant would cover 100 acres," Clark said. He said the gas plant's footprint would be eight acres. For comparison, Clark said Temple Square in Salt Lake City is 10 acres.

Clark addressed some of the concerns raised by people at the meeting. One was a claim that the plant would only have two round the clock jobs. Clark said this is a misleading piece of information, and that the plant would have 25 to 30 full-time employees.

Clark said many of the construction jobs will likely be hired out to local firms, as it costs less to have local people work on a project than it does to bring them to an area to do the work. He said more specialized areas of construction would likely require outside contractors to do the work.

The plant would be a combined cycle design, which utilizes three turbines to generate electricity. The first two turbines burn fuel to spin, while the exhaust and heat from them is used to spin the third turbine.

There were several people who spoke at the hearing to let the Sevier County Commission know their concerns.

"The footprint will still be enormous," said Cindy Roberts, Sigurd resident. She said the county should insist on the highest level of design. Her husband, Mike Roberts, a Sigurd Town Council member, said he was concerned about the flooding.

"I'm not opposed to the natural gas plant, just the location," said Doug Wood, a county resident.

Dick Cumiskey, president of the group Sevier County Citizens for Clean Air and Water, gave a list of conditions his group would like included in any gas power plant permit issued by the county.

"This PUD [planned unit development] is a unique overlay on an agricultural zone," Cumiskey said. He said this is the justification the commission needs when asking for additional conditions for the plant. He said other applicants haven't asked for an overlay, which makes the Nevco project unique in how it is approached.

Cumiskey also said the county should look at other power plant permits issued in the country and use them as models for the Nevco proposal. The SCCCAW proposals included requiring high efficiency reverse osmosis for more effective use of water, restrictions on the facility's evaporation ponds and liners, pond water monitoring, decibel levels and lumen levels for lighting.

Cumiskey also said the exhaust from the gas plant would increase pollution levels by 17 percent. He said the company could pay for upgrading county vehicles and facilities to offset the pollution. Cumiskey's group stressed that the site for the gas plant be disallowed from ever building a coal plant.

Another request from SCCCAW was for Nevco to pay for a health insurance policy for everyone in the county who doesn't have medical insurance who develops a respiratory illness after the plant opens.

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