SWEPCO allowed to continue site work on Hempstead County plant

TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) - SWEPCO may continue site work on its proposed power plant in Hempstead County.

The utility company has begun clearing 3000 acres of land near Fulton for a $1.5 billion, 600-megawatt coal-fired plant even though all the permits for the plant itself have not been approved.

The Hempstead County Hunting Club filed a restraining order against the company, saying SWEPCO should not be allowed to do site work if it didn't have all its permits. However, a federal judge dismissed the claim. U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes said stopping the work would be too costly for SWEPCO. SWEPCO also cited an Evironmental Protection Agency policy that allows work that isn't permanent and doesn't involve emission-producing equipment.

SWEPCO still needs Arkansas to approve an air-quality permit for the plant.

There's also an appeal before the Arkansas Appeals Court on the decision by the state's Public Service Commission to allow the plant to be built.