(WTRF) The battle lines are drawn over the future of the Mitchell Power Plant in Marshall County.
The State and public met for hearings in Charleston today. At issue, is whether to let the Mitchell Power plant in Marshall County, in the Northern Panhandle, go off line 2028, as it is currently scheduled, or keep it open until 2040.
Coal industry backers say the job losses will be huge if 2028 is chosen.
So I’m supporting not only he jobs of coal miners, railroad workers, and everyone associated it, but also for the country. The security we have depends upon good, reliable electricity.”Rep. David McKinley, (D) West Virginia – District 1
With 200 people employed at the plant, and several hundred others in construction and electric trades, advocates for 2040, say the earlier date will have a ripple effect.
“The tax base loss to our community that would impact our schools and our municipalities and our first responders. It would really be devastating.”Del. Lisa Zukoff, (D) Marshall
But critics says the cost of upgrades could exceed 400 million dollars, and may be passed onto your utility bill.
“We don’t think that’s fair. Our electric rates have gone up 150- percent since the middle of the 2000s.”Gary Zuckett, West Virginia Citizen Action
And environmentalists say the focus needs to be a transition to clean energy.
There’s a lot of options out there and we need to be moving into a new energy economy, and not get left behind.Gary Zuckett, WV Citizen Action development, solar and wind
Following these hearings the State Public Service Commission will continue to gather evidence, and perhaps render its final decision in the next several weeks.