POSTED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 6:28pm
UPDATED: Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 7:05pm
EL PASO — The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality held a preliminary hearing on that proposed power plant in Far East El Paso. People who live near the site want it built elsewhere, while El Paso Electric said they shouldn’t be concerned.
"Just go somewhere else ma'am, tell ‘em to go somewhere else. Just tell them somewhere else, not where we already have established communities," said Alfredo Garcia.
Garcia has lived in the Montana Vista community for decades. His home is about half a mile from where El Paso Electric wants to build a natural gas power plant.
Residents in the area said the proposed power plant would damage their quality of life.
"My real concern is my lungs and my daughter's lungs and my community's lungs and... they're saying I would put my kid next door. They're lying. They wouldn't because they know what it does," said Garcia.
A group called, Far East El Paso Citizens United is fighting the electric company in court.
"It's going to cause pollution. It'll cause noise... lights will be on 24 hours," said Bodine Porter.
On Tuesday, a judge decided to allow the group to present their case against the power plant.
On May 1, both sides will present their arguments to The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
If built, the plant would provide electricity to 80,000 homes.
El Paso Electric said they will not put anyone in danger.
"We certainly are not going to build anything that's going to harm their families or children or anything else. That's why the TEQU is there to make sure organizations or the companies do not build these kind of plants that'll pollute the air or cause a danger to the human or animal life," said Henry Quintana with El Paso Electric.
But for people in the Montana Vista community, safety is not the only concern.
“We built out in the desert so that we would have peace and quiet, be able to see the stars at night, and all of that will be destroyed when they bring in a power plant," said Porter.
On Monday, the El Paso County Commissioners Court will decide if the county will get involved in the case.
After the hearing in May, the TCEQ will decide to approve or disapprove permits for the power plant.