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Residents rejoice as plans for polluting plant abandoned after 8-year controversy: 'We will continue to fight'

Officials finally abandoned the project after nearly a decade.

Officials finally abandoned the project after nearly a decade.

Photo Credit: iStock

Plans for a proposed power plant that would have polluted Western Pennsylvania's air by burning dirty energy sources have been scuttled, thanks in part to the relentless efforts of environmental advocacy groups.

The Allegheny Energy Center project, which was being developed by Chicago-based company Invenergy, would have brought a natural gas plant to Elizabeth Township. The plant would have created enough electricity to power half a million homes while emitting significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, ammonia, and other air pollutants into the atmosphere.

Instead, it will not do any of that, as Invenergy surrendered its installation permit and withdrew its application, reportedly with a one-sentence statement that cited "current market conditions."

Plans for the plant have been in the works for eight years, and environmental advocacy groups such as PennFuture and the Clean Air Council have been steadfastly opposing them the entire time. Now, those groups are taking a well-deserved victory lap.

"Allegheny Energy Center's demise marks the end of giant new fossil-fueled power plants in Pennsylvania," Joseph Minott, executive director and chief counsel for the Clean Air Council, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Instead of locking us into decades of fossil fuel use and fueling the climate crisis, Pennsylvania can invest in wind and solar, which are safer, cheaper, and guarantee our energy independence far into the future."

"We will continue to fight to protect the health of our communities from the harmful air pollution impacts imposed by fossil fuel facilities like this one," Angela Kilbert, a senior attorney with PennFuture, said.

Natural gas, also known as methane, is one of the most environmentally harmful dirty energy sources in use. It is responsible for around 25% of the current overheating of our planet and has planet-overheating effects that are up to 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

Luckily, thanks to the efforts of environmental advocacy groups, we are beginning to see a shift away from natural gas and toward clean, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. 

Kentucky recently announced plans to increase its solar capacity by 900% while shutting down five old dirty energy plants.

Further, a recent study found that all but one of the currently operational American coal plants would be cheaper to replace with clean energy than to continue operating.

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