More Jobs, Cleaner Air Coming to Pulaski County

It's a major supplier of electricity, enough to power homes in 30 cities the size of Somerset.

The John Sherman Cooper Power Plant burns 1 million tons of coal a year, which releases potentially harmful substances into the air.

But Tuesday, an announcement of some new equipment to clean that air was made.

“It's like putting a catalytic converter on a car. We're putting it on a plant,” said Nick Comer with East Kentucky Power Cooperative.

The "pollution-control" equipment will cost $324 million and take 2 years to complete once construction starts in 2010.

Officials say it will take a workforce of up to 400 to install the devices, and many of those workers will live in Somerset, which is seen as a big boost to the local economy.

“Anytime you have people coming into your community for 2 to 4 years, what a great addition. They're going to eat in our restaurants, stay in motels, rent our houses,” said Jack Keeney with the Somerset/Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce.

The project could affect some East Kentucky electric bills, but officials say they don't know by how much.

“When the equipment goes into operation in 2012, it could have impact on rates, yes,” said Comer.

Officials say the new equipment will reduce sulfur dioxide by 95% and nitrogen oxide by 80%.

The pollution control equipment project came about as the result of an agreement finalized last year between East Kentucky Power and the Environmental Protection Cabinet.

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