Aspen Power clears roadblock to construction

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A tentative agreement has been reached with those protesting, which would allow an air quality permit to be re-issued to Aspen Power.  However, the documentation isn't in hand. KTRE is checking details of the agreement and what this means for the future of construction at Aspen Power.

It's been two months since a judge recommended an air quality permit be denied that would allow Aspen Power to resume construction.

According to a letter to several parties, Aspen Power may file exceptions or briefs before Sept. 14.

Administrative Law Judge Sarah Ramos issued a 45-page judgment on Aug. 24 recommending the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality not grant the permit.

The brief states Aspen Power relied on a code which is now obsolete. According to the brief, Aspen Power applied for the air quality permit when that code was active.

"But it would be legally untenable to recommend approval of the application in its current state," the brief stated.

The brief also states Aspen Power "did not prove its planned emissions are not less stringent than those actually in practice, and it did not discuss how it might achieve a maximum degree of HAP [Hazardous Air Pollutant] reductions."

The plant to be built on 67-acres was touted as major economic development project for North Lufkin.  Owner and CEO, Danny Vines had predicted the high-powered renewable energy plant would bring at least 125 new jobs and contribute more than 265 million dollars to local economy over the first ten years.   He also said the plant would utilize half a million tons of logging debris and wood waster per year.

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