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Cob Energy Facility deadline nears

Published April 1, 2004


People who have been active in fighting the Cob Energy Facility have until Friday to apply for official status in a state hearing on the power plant.

The Oregon Department of Energy recently released a 349-page proposed order, which recommends that the state permit the energy facility. The 1,130-megawatt plant would be built near Bonanza, which is 20 miles east of Klamath Falls.

Roughly 70 people and organizations are eligible for status in the state hearing, a process that will be presided over by state hearings officer Virginia Gustafson. To gain party status, people must follow instructions on the seven-page document mailed to them by the department several weeks ago.

For people who successfully gain official status in the hearing, there is a pre-hearing conference April 19, at 2 p.m. in the Klamath County commissioner's hearing room. According to Catherine Van Horn, energy analyst at the Department of Energy, the meeting is the first chance for Gustafson to listen to the issues and determine a timeline.

"People show up at that meeting, and everybody who petitioned to be a party throws their issues out on the table," she said.

The hearings officer uses information from the pre-hearing to conduct a contested case, which Van Horn said usually takes three to four months. Gustafson will then make her own decision, and report to the Energy Facility Siting Council, the state body ultimately responsible for deciding whether power plants should be permitted.

The council will consider Gustafson's report, and the department's proposed order, and decide whether the plant should be permitted. This decision is called a final order. Van Horn said in the past, the council has convened and made a decision within days, or weeks, after the hearing officer makes a report. People unhappy with the council's decision can appeal the case directly to the Oregon Supreme Court.


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