New Carlisle power plant on the horizon

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NEW CARLISLE, Ind. --- After over a decade of a power plant construction site sitting, work will begin soon, bringing some 500 construction jobs to New Carlisle.

St. Joseph Energy Center has been working on getting the right permits and approvals to start construction for the past few years. Now, with everything ready, a representative with the company spoke with New Carlisle residents Thursday.

"We've announced that we've gotten approvals for the project and taken actions and steps towards beginning construction later this year," Willard Ladd, Principal with St. Joseph Energy Center said. "We wanted to update the local community on that."

The start of this project began in 2002. A different company was in charge of construction but things fell through and the site sat unfinished and unused for years. Now, St. Joseph Energy Center is ready to change all of that.

Construction is expected to take about two and a half years, wrapping up in June of 2018 and the company is looking to hire some 500 construction union construction workers.

"They said they're going to use local union work," Noah Varnak of New Carlisle said. "So that's good. Five hundred construction workers, there's 500 construction workers in this area."

"Our contractors have given very positive feedback," Ladd said. "Our contractors do work all around the country and for them to say this is a really strong area is a testament to the workers around here."

Ladd was open to questions from the community Thursday night with a big question revolving around semi traffic along U.S. 20. Ladd didn't have an answer for that and said the contractors would be able to discuss more about that. However, Ladd had many answers for the environmental impacts the natural gas power plant would cause.

"Agencies have very strict criteria as far as what you need to do with the constituents of the water," Ladd said. "But as well as the temperature so it doesn't harm the life. We've been through that process to make sure we're meeting what they set as the standards to make sure there's not an adverse effect. As far as emissions in general, all the criteria is very stringent out there as far as where you need to be for facilities like this. What's really going on in our industry, they're looking to bring some of the older facilities down to meet the criteria of what this facility is at."

Ladd also mentioned the hope to get Ivy Tech students involved once the plant is complete, so they can get some hands on experience in the field.