LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Aspen Power now sees the end of a battle that's lasted nearly two years.
Aspen's president said a settlement agreement will allow the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to re-issue their air quality permit.
The confidential agreement comes two days prior to the commission hearing. Aspen Power does not have the permit in-hand, but expects to see it early next week, which means construction could resume. Aspen President Danny Vines said while it's been an uphill struggle, losing millions of dollars along the way, the project will be worthwhile.
Nine months after construction had been ordered to stop on what was set to be Texas' first biomass plant, Aspen Power is now getting ready to finish what they started.
"It has been a long and lengthy process, but we've stayed the course," said Vines. "It's going to have a huge economic impact to the City of Lufkin."
They expect to see their air quality permit within days which means a green light for nearly 200 people to complete a multi-million dollar construction job.
"It's been quiet, not as many people as we are used to working around, but we are looking forward to everybody coming back," said Aspen Power Heavy Equipment Operator Kenny Woodson.
Vines said they've reached an agreement with protestors and they'll be upgrading their emission controls on the plant with the latest technology for $8 million. However, he said it's all worth it.
"It has been an uphill battle though, but we have stayed the course, and we have prevailed," Vines said.
Vines said they've set the bar for future biomass plants and now his employees said the hardest part is almost behind them.
"Having all these people sitting at home not having a job...and those were people that have families and kids and no money coming in," said Aspen Power Construction Supervisor Woody Evans.
While Vines said the whole ordeal is not how it should've happened, he's proud the project is now slated to be in the works.
"When you get in the game, you can't quit," said Vines. "You play the game to be successful and win. This project would not have been for the faint of heart."
"The hardest part in waiting for the air permit is trying to find something to do," said Aspen Power Heavy Equipment Operator Rodney Richards. "Now, we [have] got something to do...that is the hardest part, waiting...but I think our wait is over with."
Vines said they'll be re-hiring shortly for 150 to 200 construction jobs over the next nine to 11 months and the plant will require 55 permanent positions.
©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
While storms popping up in the Atlantic are the last things on the minds of those that live in East Texas, it is priority number one for the Angelina County Office of Emergency Management as the calendar creeps closer to the start of hurricane season.More >>
During a Monday night special meeting, Nacogdoches Independent School District named Sandra Dowdy the lone finalist for the superintendent position. Dowdy has served as interim for the last several months. Per a press release from NISD, Dowdy was selected from a field of 45 applicants. A state mandated 21-day period must pass between the board naming her as the lone finalist and formally naming her as the next superintendent of Nacogdoches schools. It also states the selection happ...More >>
Residents near the Texas-Louisiana border are beginning their own storm recovery efforts on Monday after they fell on their property from this weekend’s storms.More >>
Residents in the Etoile area of Nacogdoches County continued the clean-up effort Monday in the wake of the powerful storm system that blew through East Texas Friday night.More >>
Deputies with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office arrested four Memphis, Tennessee men on felony drug charges and seized more than 160 pounds of codeine after a traffic stop ion U.S. Highway 259 early Monday morning.More >>