Legal Challenge to Jessup Power Plant Ends

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JESSUP -- The group fighting plans for a natural gas power plant in Jessup announced it is giving up its legal battle.

That appears to clear the way for the plant to be built sometime in 2018.

Activists filed suit to challenge last year's zoning change that would allow the plant to be built in Jessup.

On Wednesday, the group Citizens for a Healthy Jessup reversed course, claiming the reality of taking on a multimillion dollar corporation was just too much.

Signs opposing the proposed gas-fired electric plant still dot some front lawns in Jessup, but the fight now appears to be over.

Citizens for a Healthy Jessup posted on Facebook that it made a very tough decision, dropping its legal battle against Invenergy, the Chicago company planning to build and operate the 1,500-megawatt plant.

"I feel sad for the organization that is trying to stop the plant from being put into the area," said Lee Galovic of Peckville.

Galovic has friends and family in Jessup who worry the plant's emissions and noise could outweigh any benefits.

"I know they need the money, and I know it means jobs, but it just seems like it's ruining little neighborhoods."

Plant opponents say Invenergy was in the position of placing what is called a frivolous lawsuit bond against them.

According to the message on its Facebook page, Citizens for a Healthy Jessup faced, "having to pay sanctions and attorney's fees if a judge found their appeals without merit."

Such a ruling could cost members hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

The end of the legal battle means the zoning change for the land near an industrial park in Jessup will stand, as will the environmental permit awarded by the state late last year.

Bakery owner Ginger Adams was featured in an Invenergy commercial lobbying for the plant. She hopes the end of the legal fight begins some healing in the borough, which was divided by plans for the plant.

"It's wonderful news," said Adams. "I understand their concerns, but as a businesswoman, my concerns are to bring more money into the community."

"I don't know how they're going to heal because you're going to be looking up on this mountain and you're going to be seeing that plant," Galovic added.

Citizens for a Healthy Jessup still believe the natural gas power plant is bad for the community and the environment but adds the fight is too potentially expensive.

Invenergy still needs to more environmental and building permits before it can begin construction, but company officials say they expect to get them soon.

5 comments

  • John

    Odd that we seem to worry about the civil rights of others thousands of miles away while attorneys and judges would even consider seriously 4.9 million per month a reasonable settlement against citizen groups that want to challenge an action. Bye, bye to freedom of speech in NEPA?

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