White Stallion Energy moving forward with plans to build in Matagorda County
PALACIOS - Despite rumors of protesters, none showed.
Randy Bird, chief executive officer of White Stallion Energy Center, was the guest speaker last week at the Palacios Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, where he spoke about the coal plant.
The plant, scheduled to break ground early next year, has attracted the attention of several environmental groups in the state.
In a recent forum, the No Coal Coalition invited environmental experts to discuss the pros and cons of having a coal plant in Matagorda County.
But none showed up at the monthly luncheon.
Bird was invited as the guest speaker to give thoughts, ideas and an interpretation of what will happen at the site, said Leland Singer, Palacios Chamber of Commerce president.
"We want to know how the plant will impact us, the community," he said.
Bird showed a video presentation that answered concerns he's heard from county residents.
He also provided an update on the licensing process.
White Stallion is an independent power producer. The company has spent $5 million in the development phase of the project.
"It takes a lot of money to bring something like this from the ground up," he said.
An air permit application was submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and an air draft was issued, he said.
"They reviewed all of our information and determined we were using the best technology available," he told the audience.
Public hearings took place, and the community voiced their concerns.
Three environmental groups challenged the air permit, he said. The legal hearing lasted a year.
In February final rulings were submitted to judges who will have 60 days to rule by July.
This is the only permit that authorizes construction, he said.
"The final ruling will grant the permit as is, grant a permit with recommendations or send it back to TCEQ for further recommendations," he said.
Construction is scheduled for completion in 2015 and is expected to bring 150 permanent jobs and 1,500 construction workers during the construction phase of the plant.
The total investment is estimated at more than $2.5 billion, he said.
The company chose Matagorda County because of the close proximity to high-voltage transmissions, the constant water source and multiple transportation alternatives, he said.
The coal plant plans to transport fuel by train every other day and by barges every two days. Limestone will be delivered every third day.
"This will streamline delivery to the plant and have less impact to the area," he said.