Kentucky's Attorney General is demanding that the Tennessee Valley Authority shine more light on the future of a local power plant that has been open since 1957.
The TVA faces a difficult decision: close two of the plants nine units, or spend millions retrofitting the two units to current EPA standards.
Paducah Economic Development President Scott Darnell says the Shawnee Fossil Plant does much more than keep the lights on. That may change if two of the nine units are closed.
"For an area that has lost about a thousand jobs to have this happen at this juncture of the economy it could be devastating,” said Scott Darnell.
The Environmental Protection Agency gave the TVA until December 31st, to agree to retrofit units one and four for lower CO2 and Sulfur dioxide emissions or shut them down.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway wants the TVA to know the full weight of their decision.
"Federal law requires assessing the social and economic impacts in the affected areas,” said Attorney General Jack Conway. “From what I can see in the records so far I don't see that the TVA has done that."
A retrofit of four units at Gallatin, TN, cost the TVA a billion dollars.
TVA spokesman Scott Brooks would not provide us with a specific cost for the Shawnee Plant Upgrade, but said it would cost millions of dollars.
A decision to close two units wouldn't necessarily mean higher rates or a loss of jobs at Shawnee.
"We need the Shawnee Fossil plant because it is a generation source for that part of our power grid,” said Scott Brooks. “We're in the process right now of doing an environmental assessment which means taking a look at the various options available."
"They're a corporation they'll make decisions of what is best for the corporation and hopefully that is in favor of Paducah and McCracken County," said Darnell.
Attorney General Jack Conway is asking for the TVA to answer his letter by November 24th.
Conway's hope is that the TVA will schedule public meetings in and around Paducah in advance of their December 31st decision.
If the TVA fails to comply with the Attorney Generals request he could file a lawsuit for failure to comply with environmental law, but at this time he's not sure if that will be necessary.
If the TVA decides to close two of the nine units at Shawnee Fossil they would be slowly shut down before closing in December of 2017.
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003