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Sevier commissioners give go ahead for gas power plant

An example of a gas powered power plant in Vineland, Utah County.

Sevier Power Company officials were hopeful they would receive approval from the Sevier County Commission for their proposed gas-fired power plant on Wednesday morning.

When the vote came, the commission voted in favor of the plan, 2-1. Now that the plan has passed the permitting of the county, they company will have to deal with the state.

According to Bruce Taylor of SPC, a meeting was scheduled with the commission last Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed because Sevier County Commissioner Gordon Topham was ill.

According to Taylor, the company had made it clear from the beginning that they had planned to get local approval for the plant, then work to toward the nod from state agencies once the local officials had okayed the project.

"We own the land, and most of the water (they would need to operate the plant) and we've got the date we are working with," said Taylor. "We have had some local opposition and we expect some, but not nearly as much as we experienced with the coal powered plant permit. There is still some talk of location, but many of the earlier concerns simply do not exist."

Taylor said that his company feels their proposed gas fired power plant would be a great tax benefit for Sevier County and will bring good paying jobs to the area. Not only will there be jobs at the plant upon completion for operation, but he stated that there will be a lot of job opportunities on the construction site for the plant as well as the construction of the gas line that will be necessary.

With the county vote over, working with the Division of Air Quality will be up next and Taylor said he anticipates the air quality permit will be granted about the same time the permits from the Utah Department of Transportation for the proposed gas line for the plant would be approved.

"We're excited to come and start building," he said.

The plant has been under consideration for a number of years, but much of that time it was planned to be a coal fired plant. Local opposition concerning air pollution pushed that proposal out as the county got considerable pressure from local populace and environmental groups concerning the plants possible emmissions.

The coal from the plant most likely would have come from SUFCO, the largest coal producing mine in the state that is located off of Salina Canyon and straddles the Emery and Sevier County lines.

(This article included contributions from Lora Fielding of the Salina Sun and Dave Anderson of the Richfield Reaper.)

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