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State says Cob plant should be approved

Published Dec 31, 2003


A proposed 1,130-megawatt gas-fired power plant near Bonanza should be permitted and allowed to operate, according to an initial recommendation by the Oregon Department of Energy.

The department issued a draft proposed order on the Cob Energy Facility on Tuesday. The 323-page document, available on the department's Web site, will be considered by Oregon's Energy Facility Siting Council, which ultimately will decide whether to grant a permit for the plant to Peoples Energy of Chicago.

Diana Giordano, a member of anti-Cob group Save Our Rural Oregon, said the group plans to continue fighting the project. She said she's a little surprised the department is tentatively recommending approval of the power plant.

She also said members of Save Our Rural Oregon have submitted documents that discredit Cob's information about the plant.

"I believe some of that should have played a huge role in not siting it," Giordano said.

The Department of Energy will hold two public hearings on the draft proposed order on Jan. 22 - one at 2 p.m. at the Lorella Community Hall and the second at 7 p.m. at the Klamath County Fairgrounds, exhibit hall No. 2.

Cob project manager Rob Trotta said the draft proposed order is just another step in a lengthy process, and he'll be reviewing the document just like everyone else.

"Nothing's been handed to us," he said. "We've had to work for every step."

Written comments must be received by the department by 5 p.m. Feb. 5. Comments should be sent to Cathy Van Horn at the Department of Energy.

Save Our Rural Oregon member Lyn Brock said people should be very specific in their comments.

"This is really just the start of the comment process," she said. "It's really important that any comments that are made have evidence and facts to support them."

After the public comment deadline, there are still a number of steps to follow before council decides whether to permit the power plant. Here are some of the remaining steps in the process:

n Energy Facility Siting Council's first reading : The council will consider the draft proposed order, written comments received by Feb. 5 and any public comments made at the January public hearings. Council members can comment on the project at this time, but won't make a final decision.

n Proposed order: Prepared by the Department of Energy after considering comments on the draft proposed order by the public and by the siting council.

n Contested Case: Presided over by a state hearings officer, this forum is a chance for opponents of the plant to challenge the application in a legal environment.

n The decision: Council members make their decision.

The department's address is 625 Marion St. NE, Salem, OR, 97301-3742. People with further questions can contact Van Horn at (503) 378-4041.

n n n

On the Net: www.energy.state.or.us/siting/announce.htm#COB

Reporter Brook Reinhard covers local government. He can be reached at 885-4415 or (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at breinhard@heraldandnews.com.


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