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Controversial Power Plant Offers Money Incentives

JESSUP — A controversial power plant proposed for a community in Lackawanna County could mean even more money for residents living there. The company want...

JESSUP -- A controversial power plant proposed for a community in Lackawanna County could mean even more money for residents living there.

The company wanting to build the power plant, Invenergy, says if the deal goes through in Jessup, it will commit hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to the borough.

Signs all over the borough show a community divided.

The issue: a proposed power plant that a Chicago-based energy company wants to build on an industrial site in the borough.

The company, Invenergy, says the natural gas fuel plant would make electricity. It would also create new jobs and $30 million of tax revenue for the area.

Ron Sebastianelli says possible pollution from the plant will outweigh any benefits.

“They don`t know even what`s in the gas that they`re going to burn in this plant. It`s a secret formula. Doctors can`t even get it and here they want to give it to us here in town,” said Sebastianelli.

Now the company is offering more incentives, saying it will commit hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to the community for decades to come.

The annual allotments would go to the borough itself, the Valley View School District, emergency first responders, and local civic groups that focus on youth and culture.

Parent Frank Carroll says he welcomes the financial boost for the schools.

“If they can do anything that helps for glee clubs and plays, it doesn't matter. Whatever the extracurricular activities as well as new books or iPads or whatever it is then that`s better for the students,” said Carroll.

Borough officials say a final decision is still a long way off, but it`s clear the proposal isn't going away anytime soon.

“I think the incentives will definitely help their cause out, but what is the cost for the environmental impact that this plant is going to produce?” Francis Craig Shander asked.

“People complain about the environmental problems. That`s the matter of the politicians to make sure they put the rules in place that say, 'Hey, if the water falls below this level, you got to step up and fix it, you got to pay for it,'” said Carrroll. “It`s as simple as what they`re doing with fracking.”

The Lackawanna County Regional Planning Commission is meeting Tuesday night at 7 p.m. to discuss a zoning permit request submitted by Invenergy, needed to build on that industrial site.

It could have a recommendation for Jessup council on if the request should be approved.