Good call in Jessup
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: September 2, 2015
Editor: Jessup Borough Council should be commended for placing facts over fear and rhetoric in supporting the zoning amendment that will open the door for the Invenergy natural gas plant.
The council’s vote Wednesday night concerned exclusionary zoning, but it was about so much more. It was about standing up for transitioning our state from old polluting coal plants to cleaner natural gas. And it was about saying Jessup welcomes industry and the jobs and economic growth that come with it.
This was an important vote, but the process is not over. Now is the time for us to come together and make sure that the power plant is approved in a timely manner so it can start to generate benefits for the entire community.
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: July 6, 2015
Editor: The latest mantra from the “just say no to anything crowd” is that the only reason Invenergy chose the location of the proposed plant in Jessup was because it is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone.
So what? Even if that was the case, what is the problem? Isn’t that exactly why the KOZ zones were created, to bring industry to blighted, undeveloped sites? Isn’t the KOZ responsible for creating jobs for Jessup, from TMG Health to the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s industrial park?
God forbid a program works just like it was planned.
But the reality is, Invenergy didn’t choose the site for some temporary and fairly minimal tax advantage. The company chose the site because it has the right gas and electric infrastructure and is isolated away from town.
How do we really know Invenergy’s choice wasn’t about some state and local tax savings? Because they voluntarily agreed to make up for any lost local revenue with a host contribution of at least $500,000 a year to the borough, school district and local civic organizations.
We deserve an honest and straightforward discussion. If Invenergy’s opponents really believed their rhetoric, they would try to strip all benefits from the KOZ properties in Jessup and the county.
Are they? No. If we can’t believe the opponents on this, can we really believe them on anything? I am for this project and for the financial resources it can bring to my town.
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: June 28, 2015
Editor: I am proud to be a Jessup resident. Our culture, quality of life and small town friendliness are qualities to be admired.
But after attending the last few Jessup Borough Council public hearings on the natural gas plant, I have to admit I am a little disheartened by some of the actions of my neighbors who oppose the plant. Vocal opponents have been just that, vocal, including booing, hissing and catcalling from the crowd.
I strongly support people’s right to disagree, but trying to intimidate and bully those with a different opinion is going too far.
What saddens me most is the treatment to which our conscientious council members and solicitor are subjected. These are public servants doing the best they can and they do not deserve this disrespect.
So, regardless of how this turns out, I want to commend the members of council for the job they have done.
Finally, I plead with my fellow residents to tone down the rhetoric because, when all is said and done, we will all continue to be neighbors.
Mark of progress
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: June 14, 2015
Editor: There has been a tendency in recent years in this country to excoriate industry for every reason imaginable, usually environmental. Along with this, there is endless soul-searching regarding what happened to jobs and the middle class. Fact is, these issues are related. History shows that any society with a healthy industrial sector producing tangible products generates more wealth for all. After all, the favorite big-box retailer only hires so many greeters. There must be more opportunities.
We all can agree that using coal as a prime energy source is less than optimal. When you win the argument against coal, what you get are more regional natural gas power plants instead. That’s the present, not just the future, and it’s simple economics and good sense. Wind and solar are charming technologies but nowhere near as scalable, reliable and economic as we need them to be.
The energy needs of this country far exceed what the average person can comprehend. Electricity generation to meet the enormous demand is no small feat. Every time you flip a light switch, a miracle of human ingenuity and hard work takes place and involves a massive infrastructure that’s out of view.
The proposed gas-fired power plant in Jessup is something to be celebrated and encouraged. It’s one piece of a long-term puzzle in the resurgence of industry, economic stability and job growth in our region. A far cleaner locally produced fuel source is a gift not to be ignored. It will reduce the demand for coal generation upwind, improving regional air quality as a bonus. The future awaits.
Favors power plant
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: June 12, 2015
Editor: Jessup is presented with a golden opportunity from Invenergy’s proposal to bring a state-of-the-art electric generating facility to our industrial area. Now, what we do with the proposal is our choice.
At first look, the immediate economic benefits from construction are clear, with its boost in local business revenue and well-paid tradesmen who will seek living accommodations and may increase property values.
Additionally, with increasing demand for electricity, using our most-abundant resource, natural gas, we can replace dirty coal that in the past overloaded and deteriorated the power grid.
But what excites me the most is what this golden opportunity means for our future. “Build and they will come” will happen to Jessup. Invenergy and its clean, reliable source of power will be an industrial magnet. Electricity-intensive industries such as technology and manufacturing companies will seek to locate close to a reliable power source.
The eyes of the gas industry are open and waiting to see a low-emission, top-efficiency natural gas plant being built. The economic future of the nation is dependent on the use of natural gas. Jessup should come together and see the bright future awaiting it and not waste this golden opportunity.
Invenergy offers step forward
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: May 30, 2015
Editor: I am intrigued by the opportunity for growth and change that the proposed Invenergy project would bring to Jessup. However, a good number of people in this community always expect the worst and that hinders opportunities to move the community forward.
This plant is the latest in state-of-the-art modern technology and will really encourage an end to burning coal for energy. It doesn’t take a coal plant in our community for us to receive the negative impacts. Our air today is polluted by coal plants across the state and Invenergy offers us a chance to help change that.
Invenergy is offering a great step forward toward a more-sustainable future and has the potential to create a lot of positive results along the way. I believe that change like this is what is best for the future of the borough.
Jessupite backs plant
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: May 17, 2015
Editor: As a Jessup resident, I am tired of opening up the newspaper and seeing a small group of activists saying they speak for our community when it comes to the proposed Invenergy natural gas plant.
Most folks in Jessup are open-minded. We would never risk our community for economics. That is why we are carefully reviewing the Invenergy proposal.
The more I learn, the more I like it. There is no doubt that we need to shift away from coal to generate electricity — and natural gas is a reliable way to do it. Natural gas is clean, with 99 percent fewer emissions than coal.
Invenergy would build one of the most state-of-the-art electric plants in the United States in Jessup. We need this plant for the environment and we need the important economic benefits it will provide.
I’m glad I took the time to look at the project for myself and didn’t let others make the decision for me.
Gas plant backer
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: May 16, 2015
Editor: I believe change can be good, especially when local residents have a voice in how it occurs.
Sometimes, folks can disagree on change. But I would hope most people in Jessup would agree that economic growth and opportunity are extremely important to us, especially when it can create revenue for our schools and other services, like police and fire protection.
Invenergy’s proposed Lackawanna Energy Center is an opportunity that is too important for us not to take a really close look. The project would generate $30 million in property tax revenue and Invenergy would contribute $500,000 or more a year additionally for schools, Jessup borough and civic organizations.
It seems some people who oppose this plan have an agenda that has little to do with the facts and they do not see the true importance of a strong future for Jessup.
If you see the progress that can be created, short- and long-term, from Invenergy’s proposal, then you will agree that this natural gas power plant needs to go forward.
Local power source
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: May 1, 2015
Editor: Our lives are full of electric and electronic gadgets and gizmos, from cell phones and appliances to power tools and computers.
Computers are everywhere and run our homes, vehicles, factories, medical equipment and almost everything else, it seems. They all need power. What better way to get the power we need than from a brand new, energy efficient local power plant? Think about it.
Power plant benefit
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: April 29, 2015
Editor: I read with dismay the April 16 Times-Tribune article concerning the Valley View School District’s $1 million funding shortfall in its 2015-16 budget.
Providing a quality education for our children is essential for the future of our community. Our leaders must solve this problem before it is too late. Fortunately, there’s a solution with the proposed Jessup power plant, which could generate revenue for the school district.
Invenergy, the company proposing the plant, has made clear it wants to become a part of the fabric of our tight-knit community. We should encourage that — and strengthening our schools is a great start. The company recently announced a commitment to propose a host community agreement of at least $500,000 in annual contributions — for the life of the plant — with allocations to the borough of Jessup and to other local entities, including the cash-strapped Valley View School District.
In addition, Invenergy’s annual corporate and real estate tax payments to the borough would be a boon for the school district. Employment from the project, along with local spending, will increase local tax revenue even more, helping the school district close its budget gap without increasing the tax burden on residents. Increased funding will enhance our schools and it is well-proven that quality schools increase local property values.
It’s our choice. We can work together to ensure that the Invenergy facility is environmentally sound and protects our quality of life, while generating substantial revenue for our schools. Or we can continue to turn our backs on economic investment in our community, which is the type of non-action that put our schools in financial jeopardy in the first place.
Published in The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.: April 27, 2015
Editor: I have followed with interest the development on Jessup Mountain and the discussions regarding the siting of the state-of-the-art natural gas power plant by Invenergy.
My first reaction reminded me of Gov. Robert P. Casey’s pledge to build a highway to Carbondale. He persevered in spite of the negative reaction to such a task. The opposition said no one would use it, that it would ruin the environment and the northern end of the county would see no benefit. They were wrong.
Industrial development is challenging, but look at what the Scranton-Lackawanna Industrial Building Co. has accomplished on this very same mountain in 20 short years. Now, with Invenergy wishing to operate along that highway, we should be pleased that the upper valley, and Jessup in particular, is not only alive and well, but on the edge of becoming the envy of many municipalities that would fight for such an investment in their community.
If you do the economics, the way economists do, a $1 billion investment has a $4 billion impact on the region. More than 600 construction jobs and approximately 30 permanent jobs will be created. This project can enhance municipal budgets, reduce property taxes and support local school budgets.
Elected officials need to know that there are many Jessup residents who support this project. I had the opportunity to gather recently with 60 Jessup residents at an event where this group of like-minded individuals who support the project met to discuss the project’s attributes. Many Jessup residents support this project and count on the borough council to seize upon this safe, reliable manner in which to lead the way in clean energy and capitalize upon this economic development opportunity.
Let us continue this forward momentum by supporting the Invenergy project.
RAYMOND S. ANGELI
PRESIDENT EMERITUS, LACKAWANNA COLLEGE