Hearings conducted by the U. S. House Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington recently included support testimony from Fulton Mayor Henry Hale regarding the impact of the John W. Turk, Jr., Power Plant at Fulton.
Hearings conducted by the U. S. House Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington recently included support testimony from Fulton Mayor Henry Hale regarding the impact of the John W. Turk, Jr., Power Plant at Fulton. Hale appeared before the committee in support of the concept of “clean coal” technology, as incorporated into the fueling concept of the Turk plant, which was built for Southwestern Electric Power Co., a unit of American Electric Power Co. “The John W. Turk, Jr., Power Plant would later become the single largest project ever constructed in the county where I live, with a capital investment of $1.8 billion,” Hale testified. “Hempstead County, which has been around for 195 years, founded in 1818, is eternally grateful to SWEPCO and AEP for that decision to build just a mile or two up the road from my hometown.” Hale said the power plant, which went into commercial operation in December, 2012, was built with an eye to the future in Southwest Arkansas. “SWEPCO went to great lengths to overcome major environmental and legal challenges and build Turk, one of the cleanest and most efficient coal-fueled electric generating plants in North America,” he said. “It's the first power plant in the U. S. to use ultra-supercritical steam technology, which requires the plant to use less coal, thereby lowering the level of emissions, including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury.” Noting the economic impact of the plant, Hale said it was a boon for Hempstead County and Southwest Arkansas. “While Americans were enduring difficult economic times, the Turk Plant provided construction jobs for a peak of over 2,000 workers, and brings tax revenue to local governments,” he said. “Construction alone generated $38 million in sales and property tax revenues. The plant has 109 permanent jobs with an annual payroll of $9 million. The plant pays $6 million in annual school and county property taxes.” Hale noted the partnership between SWEPCO and the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope in developing the talent pool to operate the plant and provide higher-skilled employees in the field through the Power Plant Technology Program at UACCH. “The Turk team impacted the local communities in a positive way with toy drives and park improvements for nearby Hope, Fulton and McNab,” he said. The hearings were in response to new environmental regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency which would sharply reduce the use of coal-fired electrical generation in the United States. Those regulations on so-called “carbon capture and storage” have been opposed by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity on the basis that they will stunt development of the technology necessary to achieve better CCS results. “There has been no 'adequate demonstration' of CCS on any commercial scale, yet members of this Administration, including the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of Energy head Ernest Moniz, continue to falsely claim that the technology is ready,” the ACCCE said in a statement after the hearings.