Residents Do Not Want a Power Plant Near Them

Monday night, Planning and Zoning commissioners agreed to rezone ten acres of land in a North Lufkin neighborhood for heavy manufacturing use, and some residents are calling it a bad idea.

Shiela Barnes said, "This is a community and we do need jobs but we don't need that power plant close to residential areas where kids are and where we get our water systems from. I know it's a good idea for jobs in the community, but I really don't feel like it should be in a residential area."

Some residents are complaining to the city that the area is not the right place for a power plant. The wood-fired plant would be the first of its kind in the state and the company behind the project said the chemicals released into the air would be limited.

Many people who live nearby are not buying the environmental-friendly pitch. They would like to see the plant built outside the city limits. Several of them believe their concerns are being ignored.

"It would be dangerous to people's health, but they always will say something good to get it here," said Archie Williams.

Other longtime Lufkin residents said they are also concerned about the plant's location, but are not necessarily against building it. They realize the new plant could bring the city many economic benefits.

Mary Freeman said, "We need the jobs here in Lufkin, but I feel it shouldn't be so close into the community because you never know what might happen."

Dozens of employees would be hired at the $84 million bio-mass plant. They will be converting wood waste from plants into a usable boiler fuel through grinding or chipping, then burning it to produce energy.

If plans get final approval, construction would start in August and end in November of 2008.