All is quiet on the site of a proposed $700 million power plant near New Carlisle.
Back in March of 2011, a New York based company called Development Partners announced its construction plans, saying the work would begin in the summer of 2012.
“Right now, they’re kind of, they’re still stuck in the permitting process and it’s taking a little bit longer than they thought it was going to,” said President Andy Kostielney of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners.
Earlier this week, a representative of the company met with county leaders to talk about where things stand. “Anytime with a project this size, and kind of given the history of that area in the first place, you’re always a little concerned,” said Kostielney.
In this case, the ‘history’ goes back to 2002 when Allegheny Energy did start building a power plant on the site, only to halt the work by the end of that year.
2012 was supposed to be the year the work resumed. “It’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff, is kind of what’s going on now, all the kind of the grunt work and the detail work that needs to get done,” said Kostielney. “It looks like not much is going on, but behind the scenes a lot of work has been taking place.”
Documents show that Development Partners applied for an Air Quality permit in October of 2011. Today, News Center 16 learned that the approval process was about to enter into the next stage. “Our permitting staff are in the process of drafting a permit for the facility, it will be a preliminary document,” said Amy Hartsock, Public Information Officer with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. “It moves us from the review process into the public comment period, so it is a step forward.”
County officials hope a public hearing on the plant permit request can be scheduled in September. “They’re hoping to get some things to bid later this year, they’re talking mid to third quarter of 2013 when the construction part would start,” said Kostielney.
Estimates show that the construction period would last for two and a half years, and provide work for some 750-people in the construction trades.
“It’s a chance that we can create some construction jobs with this that this area certainly needs, and also we’ve got a decent 20 to 25 long term jobs that are going to pay a nice salary and plus then we can just help tackle some of our energy needs and reduce our reliance on coal,” said Kostielney.