Aspen Power comes to a stand still

by Kirby Gibbs

LUFKIN, TX - Aspen Power has been pushing forward with construction of what would be Texas' first biomass power plant...but at their own risk. That's according to the Texas Department of Environmental quality. An investigation is looking into possible forgery of air quailty documents.

We learned today the EPA has now stepped in, and ordered a halt on construction until a valid air-quality permit is provided. We talked to several east Texans who fear this could be the beginning of the end for the entire project.

With the promise of hundreds of new jobs, many in the Lufkin community aren't thrilled at the news of Aspen Power being ordered to stop construction.

"As a mother, grandmother, as a concerned citizen and as knowing a lot of people that have lost their jobs I'm concerned of the impact that it will have on our children and our people", says Verdia Shanckle, a concerned citizen of Lufkin.

Robert Procter Jr. a local business owner agrees. "There's not that many jobs available especially in this area to support a family with many members and so that affects the economy in Angelina."

With uncertainty over the area's economic future, the gravity of this situation is causing some to fear the worst. "They didn't have anything to look forward to they didn't have anything to work towards, but since Aspen Pipe line has came they have some hope into the community, something they can see in the future that will help them excel", says the Manager of  Ministries in Action in North Lufkin."

Community members say this is an opportunity for people to explore other possibilities other than blue or white collar jobs. Procter told KTRE, "Green collar jobs are good paying jobs and with those wages one will be able to support their family and their church and their community better."

Regardless of ongoing investigations, many don't believe any wrong doing was done by Vines or his colleagues.Trey Crain, another concerned member of North Lufkin had nothing but good words to say about Danny Vines. "He does things the right way, he's an honest person I know that for myself, so I really don't think there was any forgery going on."

"I don't believe anyone affiliated with Aspen Power had anything to do with any forgery" agrees Procter.

Until that is proven, however, Aspen Power won't be generating anything from these grounds.
Danny Vines told KTRE today that he feels optimistic about the plant's future. They are currently in negotiations with the EPA to allow them to continue the construction at a later time. We'll bring you the latest on this story as it develops.