Tension builds over proposed gas-fueled power plant

MORRISTOWN — Residents in Morristown are rallying against a proposed $500 million power plant  they fear will harm the quiet agricultural community.

But while neighbors worry the development is a done deal, officials with energy company Tenaska are trying to answer their questions and say there’s plenty of work that needs to be done to bring the project to fruition.

Tenaska is considering building a new natural gas-fueled power plant on 98 acres in an industrial park on the far east side of town.

While it’s uncertain whether plans will actually become reality, tension in the community just south of Hancock County has been escalating as dozens of its 1,200 residents worry it will affect their way of life and property values.

Tenaska officials announced in December they were eyeing a site in the community’s industrial park for a new plant. The project would boost economic development: 600 to 700 construction workers would be needed to build the facility. When it’s complete, it would employ 25 people.

But tension has been building in recent weeks, with nearly 100 “Stop Tenaska” signs dotting the community. Town council meetings have become tense, and disputes have ensued over social media and whether the public can record open meetings of the town council.

The public angst might come to a head next Wednesday, when a company representative from Tenaska will give the council an update on plans.

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