BP plans draw fire from public
of heated questions filled the Blaine PAC Tuesday evening
as nearly 100 concerned citizens turned out for the BP Cherry
Point Cogeneration Project open house and scoping meeting.
The crowd was addressed by representatives of BP, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), and Bonneville Power Administration regarding a proposed 720 megawatt power plant to be built on BPs Cherry Point property, adjacent to their refinery. The plant would utilize infrastructure already in place, and generate cheaper power for BP, which has seen their power bill surge to as much as $7 million a day, according to Mike Torpey, environmental team lead for BPs project. Mark Moore, project manager, said this is the only refinery we own that doesnt have a cogeneration plant.
The audience was uninterested in the benefits to the company; they wanted to know how the project, if approved, would effect them. Concerns ranged from CO2 emissions to new transmission lines obscuring the view. One Birch Bay resident accused, ARCO and BP have been terrible neighbors, a sentiment echoed by many who felt the refinerys noise and pollution, though within environmental standards, were unbearable, and could only be worsened by the addition of a power plant. Everyone says not in my backyard, the Birch Bay man said, and declared that the area had already paid its dues. Why should we pay any more? he asked.
Torpey was firm that environmental impact and increased noise levels had been determined to be almost nonexistent, and pointed out that the plant would provide hundreds of construction jobs, 30 permanent positions, and $4.6 million in annual taxes.after initial building taxes of $10 million.
Comments and concerns were recorded to be taken into account by EFSEC, who will be responsible for a recommendation to the governor as to whether or not to approve the project. A final decision will not be reached until summer 2003. EFSEC will accept comments from the public through August 9. For more information, or to provide input, visit www.efsec.wa.gov, or call EFSEC manager Allen Fiksdal at 360/956-2152.