Options reconsidered for proposed coal plantThe company that wants to build a controversial coal-fired power plant in Sevier County is reconsidering its options - now that the public has a say in its future.
One option: converting the proposal from coal power to natural gas. Another option is finding a new location.
Residents voted 4,567 to 3,239 last week for a proposition that gives them the right to eventually vote for or against the project.
But Sevier Power attorney Fred Finlinson dismissed that vote, saying the zoning the company wants is for a planned-unit development - not a conditional-use permit. A PUD zone, he said, eliminates the need for a vote.
But, Finlinson said, the matter could still be decided in court.
He said any change in site or how the plant would be fired would require restarting the air-quality-permit process.
Jeff Owens, an attorney for the group that got the proposition on the ballot, agreed that the issue likely will be decided in court.
"It's not finished yet."
Owens claims the company still needs a conditional-use permit - even though it is in a planned unit development zone.
The controversy began in 2000 when the company first proposed the project on a 300-acre site. If built, it would generate 270 megawatts of electricity.
In 2004 the company received an air-quality permit from the state, but its validity will be decided by the Utah Supreme Court.
James Kennon, president of Sevier Citizens for Clean Air and Water, said the proposed plant has divided the community, but he is confident that the public will prevail in stopping it.
"We're one step from doing away with the plant," he said.