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Opposition to proposed Entergy plan for N.O. East power plant growing

30th January 2017   ·   0 Comments

Opposition to a proposed new power plant for Entergy appears to be growing among eastern New Orleans residents.

WWL News reported that those who object to the plant being built and operated in their community recently held a meeting to voice their concerns and inform other residents of the issues they have with the proposed plant. While a host of reasons for their opposition were aired, including environmental safety, several residents were adamant about how vigorously they oppose the proposed plant.

In a packed meeting, a host of residents and environmental activists talked about why the proposed fuel-burning plant would be harmful to both residents and the environment itself.

“For me, there are too many other factors to say yes to $216 million for a facility that’s moving in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Beverly Wright, head of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Inc. “We’re trying to move away from fossil fuels and you’re bringing it to us.”

If approved by the New Orleans City Council in April, the proposed plant would be built where the vacant Michoud Power Station currently stands.

“It’s time to break the cycle,” said Dr. Wright. “The cycle of continuing to put dirty, nasty, polluting facilities in the neighborhood of minorities and poor people.”

Officials said it’s needed, but some disagree.

“The gas plant brings with it serious health issues and flooding risks for the people,” said one participant.

“In the long-term, it also costs us our health,” said resident Kevin Nguyen.

Like many at the meeting, Nguyen, a community spokesman, has issues with the proposal, especially when it comes to its estimated price tag.

“I think it’s roughly $6 a customer for the next 20 years,” Nguyen said. “But I’m not sure if that number will stay the same. The cost could go up.”

There were no Entergy representatives present at the community-based meeting.

“It looks as though, Entergy wants a blank check for us New Orleans customers who struggle to pay the bills we have now,” said Dr. Wright.

Residents said a lack of communication from Entergy representatives regarding the plan has left them with more questions than answers.

“If it doesn’t benefit the people, who does it benefit?” asked one resident.

The plan’s future is ultimately in the hands of the New Orleans City Council. Residents hope they too will say no.

“Take everything into consideration and make the best decision that benefits the taxpayer,” said Nguyen. “We are the taxpayers here and we do have a voice.”

Those in attendance encourage other residents to take action. They’re planning to attend a City Council Utility Regulatory Meeting to voice their opinions and concerns on the project. Earlier this month and are planning to directly contact members of the council, including their representative, James Gray to make it clear that they will be doing everything in their power to “hand out pink slips” to Councilmembers who vote in favor of the proposed new plant.

“We can no longer allow local and state elected officials to take us for granted, vote against our interests and think that there will not be a price to pay on election day,” one resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Louisiana Weekly last week. “With elections on the October ballot, there will be hell to pay for anyone who thinks we aren’t committed to blocking the construction of this proposed plant in our back yard.”

Entergy officials attended at least one meeting in December with eastern New Orleans residents to answer questions about the proposed power plant and hosted a luncheon Thursday for nearly three dozen African-American ministers.

Again, a final vote is expected by the City Council this April.

This article originally published in the January 30, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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