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Marshall County commissioners saying no to electric facility

Updated: Monday, June 30 2014, 06:56 PM EDT
MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. –- Marshall County commissioners are saying no to a program that would produce electricity from a gas facility.
Commissioner Bob Miller says a natural gas facility that produces electricity would be a welcomed addition to Marshall County, but not one that is owned by the Marshall County Commission. His concern is the county would not be able to financially handle any type of catastrophe.
The proposed plant would be situated next to the former Allied Chemical & EPA "'Brown site,'" but according to Miller, the facility that would use natural gas to produce electricity is one that should be owned by a private company.
 “The guarantees of liability insurance being around, plus there are no guarantees they are going to be here in the future,” Miller said. “They could all go bankrupt and legally walk away from it. The county cannot walk away from it. If we're an owner, we'd be held with the bag. It would literally crush the county.”
The Pilot agreement for the plant that commissioners gave preliminary approval for is not your traditional experimental project. Instead, it’s an agreement where the commission would own the facility and lease it from the commissioners for payments in lieu of taxes has miller reconsidering his decision.
“I was just learning what Pilots were at that time,” Miller said. “I was assured that later on with later votes I could vote against it. I allowed them to proceed to see what would unfold. The more I’ve learned, the more I've reached, I've decided it's a bad deal.”
Miller says that without the Pilot agreement, Moundsville Power would pay just under $200 million in taxes.
But under the agreement, they would pay between $30 and $40 million in lease payments, something Miller believes is unfair to other businesses.     
“I would welcome them with open arms if Moundsville Power would step up and do this as a private company, just like AEP does,” Miller said.
Commissioners have given preliminary approval to the Pilot agreement, but have not yet signed an actual lease with Moundsville power. Miller did not have a time table for when a decision would be made.

Marshall County commissioners saying no to electric facility

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