Dozens show up for Lufkin biomass plant meeting

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It was like a revival with Dr. Eric Jones preaching.  But he was telling people about a new company and how the people in attendance could get a better paying job with aspen power and their new biomass plant.

"It's motivating them to be confident and that there is hope in this area now and better wage paying jobs in this community."

Aspen Power is looking to hire hundreds of people and the starting pay is good.  Most jobs start out at $15.00 an hour, something Dr. Eric Jones says you just can't get anywhere else.

"I'm excited, people are excited and I feel good knowing people have hope seeking better wage paying jobs and that is the key."

But Wednesday's meeting wasn't just for questions about employment. It was also meant to tell everyone about where the progress of the project stands now.  The ground breaking is scheduled to take place on October 1st, with operations scheduled to begin in September or October of 2009.

People like Connie Shephard, with the North Lufkin Neighborhood Leadership Council says, it's more than just jobs.

"The plant in general will be a great impact to the community.  It's going to affect everybody."

Some people wanted to know about the plant itself, and DR. JONES says it's perfectly safe for the environment.

"It's a very safe biomass plant. It's passed all the qualifications needed, above and beyond. It has zero air emissions and we have our air permit. It's a good day for Lufkin."

For the most part, the entire room was onboard with the power plant.  But for those who aren't, "I encourage people to investigate a little more. Find facts about what is really is opposed to saying what they think it is."

Dr. Jones says if everyone would only ask more questions, they would be probably be onboard too.

Aspen power has hired 19 local people that have already started working and is looking to hire for the operation phase of the plant staring in mid-December of this year.