Residents in and around early county, Georgia gathered for a public forum Thursday night to express concerns about plans to build a new power plant in the area.
Many of the people who attended the meeting say the environmental impact of a coal fired power plant in their community will be drastic, but others say it will drastically improve the area's economy.
The controversy surrounds the proposed long leaf energy station, a coal fired power plant that the LS. Power Company wants to build in early county, Georgia. The proposed plan has some area residents worried about potential emissions that will come from the plant; emissions like sulfur dioxide and mercury.
"Mercury is going to emit 220-250 pounds of mercury annually. That doesn't seem like alot but one tablespoon of mercury will contaminate a 25 acre lake," said Bobby Mclendon, a resident of Early County, Georgia.
Officials with L.S. Power Company say the new plant will have a limited impact on the environment.
Mike Vogt, the director of the projects development says, "We've worked with the EPD to install the latest technology that has proved reliable out there to reduce the environmental impact."
Officials say the multi-billion dollar plant will create hundreds of new jobs and revitalize the area's struggling economy, and some residents agree.
"It's going to eventually supply a cheap and abundant source of energy which is what drives this country," said Chuck Morgan who works in Early County.
L.S. Power officials say they plan on moving forward with the project. Now all that's left is for the company to obtain the necessary permits, so they can begin building the plant some time in the spring of 2007.