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Jackson County Officials Express Concerns About Coal Plant’s Potential Full Closure

JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Jackson County officials are expressing concerns to the TVA about the potential full closure of the Widow’s Creek coal plant.

Most of the units at the plant are idle and have been for months. That’s because of a clean air agreement TVA has with the EPA.

In the next year or so TVA has plans to shut down one of the two remaining units in operation.

Jackson County Commission Chairman Matthew Hodges says that’s concerning.

“The main concern obviously is the jobs we will lose once that has closed down completely,” Hodges says. “Another concern is that is an asset for TVA currently and what will happen with that asset once it does close, and how that will affect the in lieu of taxes.”

In lieu of tax funds is the money counties get from their local TVA properties.

Part of the reason why Jackson County officials are concerned about the plant’s possible closure is because of those in lieu of tax funds.

They’re afraid if that plant closes, those funds could potentially decrease substantially, and they say that’s going to affect everyone in the county.

Those funds go to things like the Sheriff’s Office, schools, volunteer fire departments and every incorporated municipality in the county.

County leaders are discussing different options with TVA.  One of those would be to convert it to a gas plant.  Another would be to just keep the two remaining running units operational.

“The two units that remain actually meet the requirements of the EPA so they could continue to operate, based on my understanding, outside of any agreements TVA may have made,” Hodges said.

County officials say they are willing to explore any opportunities to keep it running or replace it with another industry.

County leaders say so far TVA officials have been open to their discussions.