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Are Changes Coming to TVA Paradise Fossil Plant?

The TVA Board is expected to discuss a possible switch towards natural gas to produce electricity at the plant.
The TVA Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County could be changing with the times.
Coal has been the fuel for electricity there since the 60's, but natural gas could be the new future.

As the day goes by, the shadows grow larger near the TVA Paradise Fossil Plant. But another shadow over the plant's future grows larger.

"I don't think everybody's looking at the long term outcome of this choice or of their decision," says Scott Anderson of Central City.

That decision is whether to replace two of the plant's coal-fired generating units. The TVA board will consider changing them to more environmentally friendly natural gas, installing expensive new emissions controls, or keep it as is.

"We invested millions of dollars in environmental controls in all three units of paradise so that they will reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide," says Scott Brooks of TVA. "But the standards coming up in 2015 will effect mercury standards."

"It's going to effect everybody in the county," Anderson says.

Anderson, whose five restaurants rely heavily on deliveries to paradise, says he, and many in Muhlenberg County, say they worry about potential job losses over a switch away from coal.  State Representative Brent Yonts says hundreds of workers could lose their jobs if the plant goes to natural gas. Anderson says lost jobs can mean lost business.

"If TVA loses 2/3 of its employment, we're going to lose probably 2/3 of our income," Anderson says. "It's hard to say if we could survive that or not. We might have to close ourselves."

"I think it ought to be all coal because you got these truck drivers, you got these coal miners who need their jobs to support their families," says Derrick Vick of Drakesboro.

Brooks says no decision will be made on staffing until the TVA Board decides what to do. That decision could be made as soon as Thursday, or as late as next year.
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