Meeting will focus on extending life of power plants –
By Patricia Beech –
While plans to shutter the Killen and J. M. Stuart power plants move forward, Adams County’s Board of Commissioners are hoping to convince DP&L to consider a plan that would delay closing the two facilities – a plan the commissioners say will give company employees and the county time to prepare for a just transition away from reliance on a coal-based economy.
In a meeting put together by Ohio Representative Terry Johnson, the commissioners and DP&L officials will come together in Columbus on Wednesday, Feb. 22 to discuss how to lessen the negative impact the closures will have on Adams County.
“Our number one priority is to try to extend the life of the plants,” said Commissioner Ty Pell. “The Sierra Club says that both plants are in compliance with EPA standards until 2023, if we can extend the life of the plants until then it would lessen the destructive impact on the county’s economy and environment and give us a little more time to transition.”
The commissioners are also planning to ask DP&L to provide an event timeline to ease the community’s transition and give the county time to search out other industries. Additionally, they hope to learn what the company’s decommissioning plans are for the two plants.
“That’s our plan right, but until DP&L tells us exactly what they’re going to do, we can’t move forward,” said Pell. “Right now, we’re planning and doing everything we can do.”
Commissioners say they will also raise questions about DP&L’s plans for decommissioning the plant.
“We can’t have a power plant junkyard on the southern end of our county that will sit there empty for the next 50 years,” Commissioner Brian Baldridge recently told Sierra Club officials. “We need something from either DP&L, or some other funding sources, to be able to remediate these sights.”
Commissioner Pell attended meetings in Dayton and Columbus last week hoping to learn more about what DP&L’s plans are, but he admits that “until Dayton Power & Light meets with us, we’re kind of planning for the worst and hoping for the best”.
“At the end of the day they’re a private company – they can close the doors or do whatever they want, but we have people to answer to so we’re trying to get a plan together.”
According to Pell, the commissioner’s office is planning to hire a company which specializes in helping communities transition away from a coal-based economy.
“We’ve reached out to several organizations like the Delta Corporation, and even Sierra Club,” said Pell. “But, we will also need help from the state to either expand infrastructure there (at the plants) for piped gas or provide something in the county to offset the jobs that we’re losing.”
Asked whether he believed the meeting with DP&L officials would yield positive results, Pell said, “I’m always ‘a-cup’s-half-full’ person, but we have some work to do, and we have some rainy day funds available, and I consider this situation we’re in right now a ‘rainy day’.