SWEPCO reaches settlement on some challenges to Turk plant project

Source: http://www.news-journal.com, July 25, 2011

Southwestern Electric Power Co. on Monday announced it has reached a confidential settlement of lawsuits and other actions that challenged the construction of its John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant about 15 miles from Texarkana, Ark.

Michael Morris, chairman and CEO of SWEPCO, said the action will allow the company to move forward with construction and plans to have the plant online by next year.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the plant’s neighbors regarding these long-standing issues,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman and chief executive officer.

“Construction of the Turk Plant is 70 percent complete,” Morris said. “As we move forward with this important project, we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to providing affordable, reliable power for our customers while being good stewards of the environment.”

SWEPCO is a division of American Electric Co., based in Ohio. The Turk plant is located in Hempstead County, Ark., and is named after former SWEPCO president and Longivew resident, John W. Turk Jr.

Under terms of the settlement, the litigants are withdrawing all of their challenges to the plant, including the air permit and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the plant, and SWEPCO is making commitments regarding its future operations and environmental activities in the area.

Plaintiffs participating in the settlement are the Hempstead County Hunting Club Inc., Dr. Mary O’Boyle, Pat Schultz, the Pat Schultz Family Trust, YCR Limited Partnership, Yancey Reynolds and Charles Mills.

A stipulation of dismissal will be filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Texarkana. The settlement resolves all issues raised by these plaintiffs in their challenges to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the 600-megawatt Turk project, which is located about 15 miles northeast of Texarkana.

Additional filings will be made to withdraw the air permit appeal and terminate other cases.

Two litigants – the Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society/Audubon Arkansas – are continuing to challenge the air permit before the Arkansas Court of Appeals and the Corps permit in a companion case still pending before the U.S. District Court in Texarkana. SWEPCO will continue to aggressively defend the permits issued for the plant, Morris said.

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