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BG&E Pulls Biomass Plant from Tallahassee

Update 7:00 p.m.

A controversial Biomass plant proposed for Tallahassee is pulling out. Biomass Gas and Electric announced today it is nixing its plans to build in the capital city and has asked the City of Tallahassee to remove the plant from its future agendas.

There are some mixed feelings with people happy it will no longer be an issue and others who believe the energy plant is a missed opportunity...there is much to say on both sides of the issue.

It was years in the making--the introduction of a so-called green energy plant in Tallahassee. However, recently, the proposed biomass plant has been more heavily debated in the community. Some saying it would create opportunity--others saying it would only create pollution

Chuck Hobbs, a legal adviser for the NAACP said, "We still have some concerns about the criminal and ethical violations that we believe may have happened that led to BG&E coming here in the first place."

Glenda Thornton, the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman said, "We're extremely disappointed that BG&E has decided not to be a part of this community. This is exactly the type of project the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council tries to bring to this community to bring jobs and opportunity to the people here"

Some residents who live in the area of the biomass plant's proposed site say they will not miss the opportunity. Jim Briede, a Tallahassee resident said, "I'd like to see area become a good residential area again so yeah, you couldn't of brought me nicer news."

Biomass Gas and Electric thanked community leaders who supported the energy plant--however the company's CEO and officials had strong words for commissioner Bill Proctor.

Ron Sachs/BG & E Spokesperson"In the letter, Mr. Farris also says that the greatest level of pollution in our community spews from the mouth of Bill Proctor on a nearly daily basis. I think those are accurate statements." From here, BG&E says it will look towards other communities who they say welcome the idea of a biomass plant.

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Breaking Story

That Bio-mass plant proposed for Tallahassee will not happen after all.

Today the Mayor's office got a letter from Bio-mass Gas and Electric saying the company had decided not to locate the plant in Tallahassee or in Leon County.

The company says it did an exhaustive search and determined that no site other than the one proposed on Roberts Avenue would be suitable.

The project has been the target of opposition over the past few months from those worried about it's affects on nearby neighborhoods.

Mayor John Marks says he's disappointed.

In his words...

" This is a particularly hard hit during a time of economic hardship when today's unemployment figures show Leon County's jobless rate has jumped by 3,000 over the last year."

We'll have more on this story tonight on Eyewitness News.

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Statement from Mayor Pro-Tempore Andrew D. Gillum
I am deeply disappointed to hear that BG&E is now considering a move out of Leon County. Bio-mass energy should be a reliable component to meet our future energy needs and would be a good job creation tool during these tough economic times.

I have made previous suggestions to BG&E on the steps I believe they should take to rectify some of the concerns raised by citizens; including the creation of a substantial mitigation fund to address legitimate noise, traffic, health, environmental justice and other concerns raised by residents; as well as the creation of a local training program and job placement program for the residents who are most adversely impacted by the development.

I had planned to meet with Glenn Farris this morning at 9:30 a.m. to discuss more of my detailed suggestions, but that meeting was canceled a half-hour before it was scheduled to begin and I was later informed of BG&E's intention to leave the Leon County community. I feel that this decision was made in large part due to the escalating concerns raised by others regarding the various dealings leading up to this proposal. While I understand those questions, I believe that it would be a grave miscalculation to conclude that renewable and good green energy solutions should die in the wake of those questions. Such a move is non-constructive and flies contrary to the progressive and innovative problem-solvers - who are the citizens of this community.

I deeply regret this decision and would welcome the opportunity to vote on this issue as a City Commissioner, acting in the best interest of the entire community.


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