Cushing Still Stands Behind Power Plant - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/29/05 - Cushing

Cushing Still Stands Behind Power Plant

by Donna McCollum

It is back to the drawing board for a proposed biomass power plant in northern Nacogdoches County. Over the weekend last minute efforts to get a bill containing an incentive package onto the Senate floor failed.

The reaction in Cushing is disappointment, but 'not' defeat.   The little town, on Highway 204.  is wanting a fighting chance, just like the high school Bearkats give them at every game. Since 2001 residents have hung on the possibility that a proposed power plant for this site will bring jobs and commerce to their town.    " I believe it will be good for the economy,"  said Jimmy Francis as he sat outside the feed store with friends.   But once again they're left wondering, will it ever happen. Mayor Bill Richards knows,  " The people are tired of hearing it's a done deal, it's a done deal and every time that happens they find out it's not a done deal."

Economic developers are determined to keep the dream alive. They already have plans to go before the Public Utility Commission for a modification on a renewable energy package, perhaps within the month.   Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation director, Judy McDonald said,  " We hope that we have a good case. We're not sure it will work, obviously, but we feel like it makes good sense."  The legislation passed the House unanimously, as well as a Senate committee. But continued efforts by strong opponent, Temple Inland played a role in the bill not making it to the Senate floor. The main reason developers are sold on the Cushing area is its proximity to major power providers. There are two major grids, one serving ERCOT and the other SWEPCO.    

" It will help the place around here and help the school over here," said Wayne Sprayberry.   The school district had hopes of building a new elementary school with the increased tax revenue. Another disappointment, but hope continues. Jimmy Sustaita said, " Something's gonna have to happen. I don't know exactly what, but I think something will have to happen with it." But for now the residents of Cushing will carry on the fight for progress.

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