New Orleans City Council gathers public input on proposed natural gas plant

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Photo by Claire Kim.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The New Orleans City Council will meet today to discuss a proposed natural gas plant in New Orleans East.

The hearing will take place in the main City Council chambers from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Consumer watchdog group the Alliance for Affordable Energy said in a press release that concerned citizens have been expressing skepticism about the location of the proposed plant.

The potential for soil subsidence in the area caused by the plant’s use of groundwater has raised many red flags, according to the Alliance, especially since Entergy plans to build the new plant on the location of an older natural gas plant that was decommissioned last year.

Adding a facility that is likely to increase flooding risks to an already flood-prone and low-lying area is not the best idea, Administrative and Regulatory Affairs Manager Logan Atkinson Burke told Ann Cutler on a recent appearance on the 411.

On top of the environmental concerns, questions have also been raised about the potential workload of the plant.

“This particular kind of plant is for peaking power, and Entergy is saying that they only need it about 15 percent of the year, about 50 to 53 days of the year,” Atkinson Burke said. “What we’re seeing as a result of their applications to the state, they intend to actually run it a lot more.”

The energy generated at the plant will be sold into the market, creating an unfair burden for New Orleans East residents who have to live with the environmental impact of the plant while other markets benefit from the energy generated, Atkinson Burke said.

Today’s public hearing is expected to be the only forum to gather public input on the project before the council is expected to vote on the future of the proposed plant in April.

Check out Atkinson Burke’s full interview below: