Power4Georgians, a consortium of Georgia EMCs that is building Plant Washington in Washington County, had its first job fair related to the plant at Sandersville Technical College on May 28. The event attracted 340 area residents who came to learn more about the jobs that will be available during and after construction of the plant. More than 1,500 jobs will be created once the plant is cleared for construction, and more than 120 permanent full-time jobs will remain after the plant opens.
Power4Georgians representatives gathered information at the job fair that will be used to build a database of qualified professionals who may be hired for the project. While a date for the beginning of plant construction cannot be predicted with certainty, Power4Georgians anticipates receiving its draft permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in July. After the draft permit is issued, a public comment period will commence, allowing individuals with an interest in the project to offer their input for the public record. Power4Georgians could break ground on Plant Washington as early as late 2010.
Opponents of Plant Washington, including the Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeepers, argue the new plant will add to the mercury contamination along the Ogeechee River basin. The Canoochee River is a tributary of the Ogeechee and extends into Liberty County through Fort Stewart. The Ogeechee River flows into the Ossabaw Sound on Georgia’s Coast.
Chandra Brown, executive director of the Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper, said the new plant would likely place an extra 122 pounds of mercury into the air per year. She said this would add to the critically high levels of mercury already in the water.
Power4Georgians representatives say Plant Washington is being designed to be a highly-efficient super-critical facility. Meaning it requires less than two-thirds the amount of coal and emits less than two-thirds the amount of carbon dioxide to produce the same amount of power as traditional older coal-fired power plants. Proponents say the plant will also use the best available emissions control technology.
Power4Georgians officials called the job fair a success and said that given the large number of positions that must be filled for construction to begin, the job fair was an important step in gathering information on qualified individuals.
For more information regarding the plant, go to www.Power4Georgians.com
For more information on the Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeepers, go to www.ogeecheecanoocheeriverkeeper.org/.