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.

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.


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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  • by Mindy Location: Tallahassee on Jan 26, 2009 at 05:08 AM
    People don't need this kind of thing in Tallahassee to boost our economy and create jobs.....don't y'all know that Osama OOPS I meant Obama is going to give us all free money that we didn't earn and is gonna fix the economy? This would have been a wonderful thing for Tallahassee....but there always has to be a busybody in the bunch that ruins things. In this case, many more than one. I myself feel the need to apologize to BG & E on Tallahassee's behalf for the ignorance of my fellow Tallahasseeans. There are many of us who supported the was a nice thought.
  • by George Location: Tallahassee on Jan 25, 2009 at 08:50 PM
    Mr. already have a closed down biomass plant in Madison County. Your commissioners are trying to find out what they have to do to remove it, since it has been abandoned. it didn't work, obviously, and the owners left the county. Now the taxpayers get to pay for having it dismantled. BG&E burning biomass would not help your community; it would not lower your utility bills, it would pollute your air and possibly your water. Burning biomass is not clean, not sustainable, not even SMART. And Gadsden County, you'd be making a big mistake to poison your people for 25 jobs. The GRAND JURY is investigating the deal - that doesn't happen unless there are some pretty bad dealings going on. The Governor is appointing a prosecutor to investigate the dealings of TK & Virginia Wetherell, Mayor Marks, and Glenn Farris. less than 24 hours after the announcement about the grand jury, Farris is trying to get out of town asap. Doesn't that tell you something???
  • by Tim Location: Quincy on Jan 24, 2009 at 09:21 AM
    We will be more than happy to house your environmentally sound plant. We are not Tallahassee. We have lower taxes and a better way of life. Please consider us. As we look for ways to employ more people. This is great as our land value goes up, and all of our criminals move to Tally, in the area you wanted to put the plant, because that land has no use now. Thank You Tallahassee for introducing us to your former prosperity.
  • by Steve Location: Tallahassee on Jan 24, 2009 at 08:17 AM
    The only reason I can think the NAACP got involved was because of free lawyers for the brethren. I have watched Proctors shady dealings for years. If you are caucasion and call his office, well you just wasted your time. Unfortunately, he is just LIKE our new president, voted in for the color of his skin only, not about what he really says or does. So to all you brethren voters who voted for our new Prez, what do you want?? Obama wants green energy. What does Proctor want? YOU CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS PEOPLE!!!
  • by Mr. Greenjeans Location: TV Land on Jan 24, 2009 at 07:15 AM
    I wonder what kind of business would be allowed to use that site...considering it has rail access, maybe we can turn it into a train station for all those folks who wait impatiently every morning for the train ride into town. Maybe it will be a holding yard for boxcars full of biomass as they head to the biomass plant in the next county. Wait a minute...that doesn't create jobs...creates fees to the landowner though...Madison county would be stupid not to at least look at this idea. Gosh,I forgot, they have NIMBY's too. Did anyone ever prove these things are harmful to the environment? Or did we just listen to paid lobbyists from the NAACP?
  • by spock Location: jupiter on Jan 24, 2009 at 06:50 AM
    So what does an NAACP lawyer have to do with this? Was this a racial issue? Or was it turned into a racial issue to combat it? Well get what you ask for...maybe you can turn it into a non-revenue generating city park that requires city workers to maintain it with salaries that we already can't afford. Then you can say you created more work, but not more jobs. Our local gov't with their private agendas at work...
  • by Mike Location: Tallahassee on Jan 24, 2009 at 06:07 AM
    Plant Supporter, are you a lobbyist for BG&E ?? They way your numbers are skewed, it is hard to come to any other conclusion. By the way, just out of curiosity, how much money is the health of your family and yourself worth? Can we safely assume you stood up and suggested they build a railroad spur into your neighborhood so the plant could be located there, and they refused? HYPOCRISY is very unbecoming . . .
  • by Frank Location: Tallahassee on Jan 24, 2009 at 03:08 AM
    First NO COAL, now this. We will continue to pay ridiculous amounts for energy bills. On top of that, we're hurting for jobs....OH I forgot - nobody in South Tallahassee works anyway. So no big loss
  • by Commonsense Location: Tallahassee on Jan 24, 2009 at 02:15 AM
    I don't have an opinion either way on this, but I can't help but to point out one thing: The very same people who have been screaming for alternative energy supplies are the same ones who turned around and said, "Not in my back yard." Seems like to me you can't have it both ways. You killed this chance, so I don't want to hear another word for that group.
  • by wondering Location: tally on Jan 24, 2009 at 01:58 AM
    hey...I'm a tree hugger BUT I supported the plant due to more jobs here where it is needed....too bad tally, you just screwed all that up!
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