The New Orleans City Council has approved an Entergy power plant in New Orleans East. The six-to-one vote came after more than six hours of passionate arguments on both sides.
After the old plant in New Orleans was decommissioned two years ago, Entergy put forward a plan to build a new one. There were basically two sides – one slamming the $210 million, natural gas plant as unnecessary and dependent on carbon-based outdated fossil fuel, the other side supports updated technology and a dependable power source. Opponents say what’s needed is clean energy with renewable sources, like wind or solar, and improved transmission lines. Supporters say power outages trigger boil water advisories and the city needs the new plant.
The chamber was packed with both sides — and the meeting grew heated.
Here’s an exchange between one plant opponent, community activist Happy Johnson, and Council President Jason Williams:
“I didn’t interrupt you. I let you have your two minutes. Happy – that’s your time.
“The next council…”
“Do not ask the citizens to pay for a third tax increase…..Let me just finish.”
“No I’m not”
“Let me just finish.”
The overflow audience sang and chanted in protest in the hall outside and could be heard in council chambers.
“My name is Monique Harden with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice .….”When the council listens to the people positive change happens in the city of New Orleans”.
The Council’s utilities committee moved forward a resolution last week to recommend approval of the new plant at the currently abandoned site.
Council member Susan Guidry cast the only no vote, saying Entergy should study updating transmission lines instead of a new plant. Harden says the council’s decision will be challenged.
Entergy is a WWNO funder.