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Cob plant may be sold before it’s built

Japan-based company wants to buy the plant Natural gas facility

By Ty Beaver, Herald and News

Development plans for a natural-gas fired power generation plant in Langell Valley near Bonanza may be sold to a Japanese company before it is built.

In its renewal application for a DEQ air quality permit, Cob Energy Facility officials noted pending sale of the proposed facility and its interests to a Delaware-based holding company owned solely by Electric Power Development Company, Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan.
The DEQ hosted a public hearing Tuesday night for residents to offer comments on a renewed and modified air permit for the Cob Energy Facility.

Stricter air quality regulations and the possible sale of the facility’s interests to the Japanese company caused several residents to speak against the renewal, including Klamath County commissioner Bill Brown.

“Who’s really gonna build it?” Brown asked during his testimony.

The proposed facility would be a natural gasfired, combustion turbine based, combined-cycle power generation plant that would burn pipelinequality natural gas. If constructed, it would be more than two miles south of the intersection of Harpold Valley Road and West Langell Valley Road.

A permit was originally filed with DEQ in December 2003. The company did not begin construction of the facility within the 18-month time frame set by the permit, reportedly because of a lack of need for additional electrical power in the region.

In its reapplication, the company requested an amendment to extend the construction start and completion dates.

The Oregon Department of Energy scheduled another public hearing in regard to the amendment at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Ross Ragland Theater.

Resident Gail Whitsett spoke out against the renewal, saying the Environmental Protection Agency has issued stricter guidelines for air quality since the original permit.

“No real reason has been given for wanting an extension. Why should a special exception be granted to this yet-to-be-constructed facility?” she said.

Sale could hurt state

Both Whitsett and Brown brought up the pending Japanese sale, saying it could potentially place the managers of the proposed facility beyond regulatory reach and take economic benefits from the plant out of the state.

Resident Nancy Roeder said she remembered when a company built an incinerator in Worden years ago and burned hospital waste that created pollution. The Cob facility would create the same burdens for Bonanza.

“They are getting the brunt of this, if it’s constructed,” she said.


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