Proposed Otsego Co. Power Plant Meets DEQ Standards

New developments tonight in the fight to build a new power plant in Otsego County.

The Alpine Power Plant has been in the works for some time now.

It’s the hundred million dollar natural gas plant we told you about last year.

Now, crews have broken ground on the proposed site north of M-32 in Elmira Township.

But the plant’s builder, Wolverine Power, faces one last hurdle: approval from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality–making sure it’s in line with air quality standards.

As part of the process, the public had 30 days to come forward with any concerns before tonight’s final hearing.

Reporter Charlie Tinker was at tonight’s meeting and has more details.

“I was first approached and said there’s something really big coming to Elmira and we can’t tell you what,” said Elmira Township Supervisor Diane Franckowiak.

That big thing is the Alpine Power Plant and, to Township Supervisor Diane Franckowiak, the plant’s power to transform her town is nearly limitless.

“I think Elmiras a sleepy little town that needed to be woken up a little bit and I think it’s going to help wake it up,” said Franckowiak.

A hearing tonight gave locals one final chance to speak out against the $100-million project and the DEQ a chance to share its thoughts.

It would seem that plant is now one step closer to taking shape.

“The emissions have been evaluated against those health based standards, state and federal, and have been found to more than meet those standards,” said Cindy Smith of the DEQ’s Air Quality Division.

That’s why township leaders tell us the hearing was largely a formality…

Here you can see crews are already hard at work preparing the site.

Local approval has been given and opposition to the plan has all but disappeared.

“As their questions were getting answered, there was less and less opposition,” said Franckowiak.

“They addressed all of our issues completely,” said Ken Borton, chairman of Otsego County’s Board of Commissioners. “Anything they said they were going to do, they did.”

The construction noise bothers some who live nearby…

“I can feel the rumble in my house,” shared a concerned resident, who, despite those concerns, generally agreed with the plan.

But many others say they now have a better understanding of the plant and what it means…

Job creation, new, green energy and a boost to the township’s tax base…

“It could double the income that we’re getting right now,” shared Franckowiak.

They say the long-term benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks and after several years in the planning stages, the DEQ’s approval could come soon.

And when it does–the real work can begin.