Judge Signs Off On Settlement; “Biomass” Battle Now Officially Over

1372275863_53149_oSpecial Judge Sherry Gregg-Gilmore has signed off on the settlement reached last week between the City of Jasper and the local citizens group Healthy Dubois County, Inc.

Gregg-Gilmore signed the settlement Monday bringing an end to a nearly two-and-a-half year legal battle that started immediately after the City signed a lease agreement with a Georgia-based company to lease the now-idled Jasper power plant.

Twisted Oak Corporation, under the name of the “Jasper  Clean Energy Center” entered into the lease to convert the coal-fired facility into one that produces electricity using natural gas and miscanthus gigantus grass, both reviewable recources.

HDC filed its original lawsuit wanting to put a stop to the lease claiming that re-firing the power plant using miscanthus, a biomass fuel source, would be harmful to the overall health of Dubois Countians and those living in the area.

City officials say the electricity generated at Jasper plant would replace coal generated electricity on the Indiana Municipal Power Association “grid,” making the air healthier, not more harmful than the emissions coming from nearby power plants at Petersburg, and near Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

Terms of the settlement include that both sides dismiss all legal claims against the other and that each pay their own legal costs.  The City of Jasper has accrued legal expenses of about $600,000 defending its position.  The City has also lost neasrly a half-million dollars in lease payments from Twisted Oak Corporation.  Meanwhile, HDC says its legal fees total about $240,000.

City officials say after all the legal wrangling, the original lease remains intact exactly as it was when it was signed August 4, 2011 and hope to restart the conversion process as soon as possible.

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