The comment period for the draft air permit for Invenergy’s proposed shale-gas fired power plant, also called the Allegheny Energy Center, is now open. The Chicago-based private company, Invenergy, has been attempting to construct the 639-megawatt gas-fired power plant in Elizabeth Township since 2016.
If approved, the power plant would be constructed along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail nearby the Youghiogheny River, a beautiful natural area cherished for recreation and tourism. Nearby communities have largely resisted this heavy industrial operation, especially as the region shifts towards tourism and recreation as key economic drivers.
Aside from possible impacts to the GAP trail and stresses to the Youghiogheny River, Invenergy is also located near the Environmental Justice communities of West Newton and Sutersville, and is directly situated within the village of Smithdale. Its air pollution will contribute to emissions in Allegheny County, which is already notorious for poor air quality. The proposed power plant would emit many pollutants of concern – such as Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and greenhouse gases – as well as hazardous air pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. All of these pollutants impact human and environmental health.
Because of a controversial rezoning decision made by the Elizabeth Township Commissioners in December 2018, the public hearing on the draft air permit may be one of the final opportunities that residents have to formally speak out against the proposed power plant. In light of this, there are three important virtual meetings about this development upcoming that MWA is helping to organize.
First, MWA will host a virtual Environmental Justice community meeting on May 4th at 7:00pm. This meeting will cover details of the draft air permit and includes presentations by the Allegheny County Health Department and the Department of Environmental Protection. This is the best opportunity to ask questions directly to ACHD and DEP, but is notably not a space to make formal comments. Register: bit.ly/InvenergyEJ
Next, MWA will hold a virtual Instructional Meeting on May 20th at 7:00pm discussing how to submit technical comments to the Allegheny County Health Department. The Environmental Integrity Project will share deficiencies in the current permit discovered by their engineer that the community around the Youghiogheny River should know about. Register: bit.ly/InvenergyPrep
Finally, the virtual Official Hearing will take place on June 8th at 6:00pm. Here, concerned community members will be able to formally share their issues and thoughts about the permit, which will be documented and addressed. Register: bit.ly/InvenergyHearing
To learn more about MWA’s longstanding battle against Invenergy’s proposed Allegheny Energy Center, you can read previous articles on our website. If you have any questions or concerns, or you would like to get involved, please contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org.