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Little Gypsy given green light to store coal

Staff Report
July 25, 2007 at 2:37 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

St. Charles Parish council voted eight to one to allow Entergy Louisiana's Little Gypsy power plant in Montz to store open-air solid fuel on the site.

The council changed the zoning requirements which will allow Entergy to move forward with the $1.5 billion project to convert Little Gypsy’s fuel source from natural gas to coal and petroleum-based petcoke.

Councilman Clayton ‘Snookie' Faucheux, was the only member of the council to vote against a proposed ordinance that would permit open-air storage of the fuel within 2,000 feet of homes and businesses.

In an anonymous letter written to the St. Charles Herald-Guide, residents expressed concerns that the coal dust would pollute the neighborhood.

Jim Schott, manager of environmental services for Entergy’s five fossil fuel plants, said the dust will be suppressed by a mix of water vapor and chemicals sprayed over the stockpile.

“It certainly isn’t in our interest to have dust floating around the plant,” he said.

Petcoke is a coal-like substance produced from crude oil after lighter substances such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel are removed in the refining process. One reason that Little Gypsy was chosen for the project is because there are three oil refineries within a few miles of the plant, which will reduce transportation costs, company officials said in April.

Entergy officials say the project, which is scheduled to be complete by 2012, could save ratepayers $4 billion over the next 30 years by allowing them to diversify the company’s fuel sources.

Rev. Pat Brown, pastor of a church near the plant on Union Lane in Montz attended the meeting.

"I'm in favor of the project because Entergy has promised to arrange for contractor-paid job training for residents and to make efforts to hire local residents for the 1,300 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs."

Champagne chosen as registrar of voters

Without delay, the council voted in former councilman Brian Champagne as the new Registrar of Voters to replace Steve Sirmon, Jr. who died of cancer a few months ago.

Champagne, a farmer, was chosen from among a dozen candidates.

The council voted 8-1 for Champagne on its first ballot, with Councilman Barry Minnich voting no.

Champagne will take office, replacing interim Registrar Gwyneth Duhe, who also was a candidate for the post.

She replaced Steve Sirmon, who died in office two months after replacing longtime Registrar Janice Hymel, who retired in April.

Laron Landry honored

In other council news Laron Landry, Ama resident and Hahnville High graduate, received an award from the parish council for being a 2007 NFL draft pick to play for the Washington Redskins.

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