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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 3:22pm

Coal Plant in Sandersville Clears First Hurdle with State Officials

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has issued draft permits for a coal plant to be built and operated in Sandersville.

The permit means that plans for the $2 billion plant comply with state regulations on air and water quality, and other regulations. It's a major step toward approval of the plant, although EPD officials won't make a final decision until they've gathered public comment on it.

Plant Washington would generate power to about 500,000-700,000 homes, according to Dean Alford, the head of Power4Georgians. It would also create about 1600 construction jobs and 130 permanent jobs once it's completed.

But environmental groups disagree, saying the plant would pollute the air with mercury, and use up too much water from a nearby river basin.

The EPD will hold a public meeting, where the public can ask questions about the process, on October 6. A public hearing will be held on October 20. Both events begin at 6 p.m. at Ridge Road Elementary School in Sandersville.