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Proposed power plant presents problems


   Concerns with impacts from the 980 megawatt power generation plant proposed for a site very near the Jefferson and Crook county lines are behind formation of a citizens action group
   Not everybody is overjoyed about a proposed power generation plant slated for a site near the Jefferson and Crook County line. A group of residents calling themselves the Friends of Central Oregon have formed and are asking questions.
   According to available information, the Cogentrix Grizzly Power facility is to be a 980 megawatt cogeneration power plant to be located east of Highway 26 close to Grizzly Mtn. Although the $400 million Cogentrix plant project is still in the early stages of development, a lot of questions are already being asked.
   Cogentrix Energy, Inc., headquartered in Charlotte, NC, and according to the company web site, "acquires, develops, owns and operates electric generation and other power assets in the United States and internationally. Cogentrix has, in whole or in part, equity interests in 25 facilities in 10 states."
   The power company has power plants in 23 locations around the nation, and is presently building four others.
   Following a meeting last week of the Friends of Central Oregon, a list of issues about the proposed Grizzly Mtn, facility were raised. The focus of most of the concerns have to do with potential environmental impacts generated by the plan.
   The proposed development site is about two miles east of the highway, east of the Bonneville Power Administration's Grizzly substation. The site is also in the vicinity of the Pacific Gas pipeline facility. The power plant, when in operation, would be fueled mainly by gas and would have an easy tie-in to the Northwest power grid at the Grizzly substation. Part of the power would be generated by steam, the heat source coming from the gas-powered portion of the plant.
   In a letter to the public, the Friends explain that the power plant will cover approximately 20 acres of private land immediately adjacent to the Crooked River National Grasslands, the Ochoco National Forest and the RimRock Springs Wildlife Refuge.
   Based on information contained in the company's Notice of Intent, water quantity and quality, noise, air emissions, stack plumes and visual pollution are the major concerns worrying the Friends of Central Oregon.
   * Water quality and quantity: The company will, when completed, use 6.25 million gallons of water each day for plant operations. The Notice, the Friends say, states that the company will consume 4.75 million gallons of water a day, most of that being released as steam from four 200-foot tall stacks. Only 1.5 million gallons will be "returned to central Oregon."
   * Air emissions: Air pollutants include Nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. "Several of these elements are key ingredients for acid rain," the Friends' letter pointed out.
   * Noise pollution: The power plant will have four 3-phase jet turbine engines.
   * Visual pollution: "The plant will be lit up like a small city."
   The Friends of Central Oregon draw a mental image of disaster if and when the proposed power plant is put into operation. "The facility footprint including the numerous buildings, switchyard, water storage and treatment facilities, etc, will encompass 20 acres. Envision three US Navy aircraft carries sitting in our backyard, then add all the noise that the military jets make when taking off 24-hours a day, and you'll have a partial picture of some of the impacts the proposed power plant will have on central Oregon."
   Cogentrix Energy, Inc. has been contacted and some of these points of concerns have been presented. As of press time today, no answer has yet been received.
   The Notice of Intent is to be used in making application for a site certificate from the Oregon Office of Energy.