Sleepless in Fairburn 

Quiet little Fairburn in south Fulton County is going to get a lot noisier in the next couple of years, and folks living around those parts ain't too happy.

The noise will come from four natural gas powered turbines and two steam powered turbines the Williams Cos. Inc. plans to begin building in about a year. Those six turbines together will generate enough electricity for 1.23 million homes. The Tulsa, Okla.-based company must first secure permission from the state and Fulton County before beginning construction.

The plant will go on a 230-acre site with 200 acres reserved for green space, which may include a community park or walking trails.

Of course, probably not many people would want to exercise next to a plant emitting 200 tons of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides a year into an area that already fails to meet federal clean air standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies any facility that generates more than 50 tons of nitrogen oxide a "major" source of pollution.

Because Williams is building the plant in the metro Atlanta non-attainment area, the company will have to reduce emissions elsewhere in the non-attainment area. That reduction will likely come from a natural gas compressor station Williams operates in Stockbridge.

"We've come up with an excellent plan to satisfy everyone," says Dan Skizim, project director for Williams.

Not so fast, buddy. The folks who'll be living next to the plant aren't too keen on having those large and loud generators running 24 hours a day.

Randy Colver and other Fairburn residents plan to meet with county commissioners and Williams about the plant.

"We're gathering information. We're very, very concerned. I'm opposing it until they solve the problem of how it will impact the residents who live close to it," Colver says.

Colver may have an ally in Environ-mental Protection Division Director Harold Reheis, who, in a letter dated May 3, told seven power company executives that EPD is "temporarily suspending" its power plant permitting process.

Despite that, Skizim says construction will still begin in a year, with completion scheduled for 2004.

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