NEW ORLEANS -- More than 200 protesters came out this morning to a New Orleans City Council meeting discussing proposed Entergy plant in New Orleans East.
Protesters told WGNO that those without seats were forced out of chambers. Dozens had to leave.
The demonstrators were out around 8 a.m. assembled into a long line outside of the chambers door. They told WGNO they came early because so many of them were forced out of the council's Utility Committee meeting last month, when the committee approved the proposal.
Council members could vote today on whether or not to approve the facility. Supporters say it would allow Entergy to meet electricity demand during peak times to help reduce power outages.
But critics say Entergy should work with alternative energy sources, like solar and wind, instead of natural gas, which they say will come from fracking. They also say the plant will increase pollution and your electric bill.
Some of the protesters gave a letter to the council recently, notifying them that they intend to file a lawsuit for violating open meeting laws.They also say they're frustrated over reports that Entergy hired people to sit in meetings.
"They kept the doors locked and wouldn’t open them. Someone came out and I snuck in and the security guard tried to stop me and I walked into the room and I saw rows of empty seats, easily 30 empty seats," protester Renate Heurich said. "I have heard from several people that people were hired by Entergy they were given t-shirts, cash money, and asked to sit in the meeting don’t talk to anybody just take up space."
Entergy CEO Charles Rice refuted those claims, responding to the accusations.
"There have been a lot of spiritless allegations made in this particular situation against myself, against the company, all of which are baseless, this is another attempt by the opposition to really confuse and conflate the issues. This is really about what is best for the City of New Orleans," Rice said. "I don’t think at any point of time, they have put forward any alternative that would really serve the citizens of this community well."
Hundreds of comment cards were filled out. Stick with WGNO for the latest.