The environmental impact that a proposed coal-fired power plant would have in southern Clark County is the subject of a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday night.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold the hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Clark County Cooperative Extension Office, 1400 Fortune Drive, in Winchester. The office is north of Exit 96 off Interstate 64.
East Kentucky Power Cooperative proposes to build a 278-megawatt power plant at its Smith generating station near Trapp. The plant, which would cost more than $800 million, would provide power for 150,000 homes.
The co-op produces power for its 16 member co-ops that in turn service more than 500,000 homes, farms and businesses throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky.
EKPC plans to build a 139-acre reservoir to provide "a backup water supply" for the proposed plant during times of drought or low-flow conditions on the Kentucky River, said Nick Comer, spokesman for the cooperative. Like other coal-fired plants, the proposed plant is essentially a giant tea kettle in which coal is burned to heat water into steam, which then turns turbines to generate electricity.
The cooperative also proposes to build a landfill and some "beneficial reuse areas" that would use coal ash, a byproduct from the burning of coal, as structural fill, Comer said.
"I don't know if this is specifically correct, but if we wanted to build a warehouse in the future and we need to level out that ground, we would use it (ash) to fill in the low spots," Comer said.
The public will also be invited to comment on a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that is available online at www.ekpc.coop/smith-unit1.html.
The impact statement is also available for inspection at public libraries in Clark, Estill, Madison, Fayette, Montgomery, Bourbon and Powell counties.
Those attending the hearing are asked to register when they arrive at the meeting. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Those wishing to make a public comment should indicate their wish to comment on a registration card. Those who wish to make comments will have about five minutes to make their statements in order to accommodate everyone.
Written comments may be submitted to any Corps of Engineers staff member.
The cooperative has received an air permit from the state Division for Air Quality, but EKPC estimates that it will be at least March before it will finish the rest of the permitting process.