El Paso Electric awaiting TCEQ decision to build plant in Far East El Paso


POSTED: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 5:23pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 5:34pm

The El Paso Electric Company should learn next week whether it can move forward with plans to build four new electric generators in Far East El Paso. The Texas Commission on Environment Quality is expected to rule on the air permit for all four generators. If the project is approved -- the new power plant near Zaragoza and Montana -- would carry electricity to a substation near Rich Beam and Montwood.

El Paso Electric is seeking to build four of their generators near Alfredo E. Garcia's home. "As a first responder, putting a power plant next to these gasoline tanks it just does not make sense to me,” Alfredo E. Garcia, a Far East El Paso resident said. We first introduced you to Garcia in January. He and other community members are still fighting to keep El Paso Electric's plan away from their neighborhood. "I'm not saying we don't need a power plant, I'm saying we don't need one right there."

"We meet all the government standards, we've got fire protection equipment that will be installed on site,” Andy Ramirez, Vice President of Power Generation explained. The electric company said these four new units will emit less pollutants than the older models.

"It's not safe and if it hasn't been done anywhere else in the United States, that kind of tells you something,” Garcia argued.

They add -- the company needs to build these units in Far East El Paso because it is the fastest growing area in the city.

"I've been in the industry for 31-years I know that this is a safe piece of equipment,” Ramirez said.

But safety remains on residents minds. They're also worried about where that will power go. They don't want to see power lines in the neighborhood -- and argued the lines should run underground -- away from homes.

"It isn't good for the community and you wouldn't build your house next to it but yet, you're going to put it next to my house,” Garcia said. El Paso Electric already received the green light to build two of their generators in Montana Vista."That is ridiculous to put it next to the tanks."

All the company is waiting for is the go ahead to build the final two.
El Paso Electric said they are still waiting to hear from the public utilities commission on their decision to build the last two generators in the Montana Vista area. That decision is expected to come down within six months.

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