American Municipal Power Generating Station

From Global Energy Monitor

The canceled American Municipal Power Generating Station, which would have been operated by American Municipal Power - Ohio, was a proposed 960 MW coal plant to be built in Meigs County, Ohio. It would have consisted of two 480 MW units, the pulverized coal plants that would burn coal from Ohio and the Powder River Basin.[1] Construction was scheduled to begin in 2009 but on November 25, 2009 it was announced that the plant was canceled.[2]

In Oct. 2007, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Ohio Environmental Council filed a motion with the Ohio Power Siting Board, calling on the board to intervene in the permitting process.[3] AMP’s 92 member-communities have until March 2008 to decide whether or not to participate in the project; project financing depends on availability of municipal bonds from these communities.

On Oct. 1, the Oberlin City Council[4] and Bowling Green City Council[5] both approved their contracts to commit to buying power from the plant. On Oct. 29, the Cleveland City Council approved its contract.[6] On Oct. 15, the Yellow Springs Village Council voted to delay action on signing a contract with AMP.[7] On Oct. 24, citing environmental concerns, the Westerville City Council rejected its proposed contract.[8]

On Dec. 4, 2007, the Ohio Environmental Council and the NRDC filed a motion calling on the Ohio EPA to reject the plant’s air permit.[9] Negotiations between AMP and member-community city councils are ongoing.

On March 28, 2008, activists participating in Mountain Justice Spring Break occupied the lobby of AMP - Ohio's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, and demanded a meeting with AMP's CEO Marc Gerken. Several people stated their intention to conduct a sit-in in the office if their demands weren't met; about 40 people protested outside. After 30 minutes, Gerken met with the protestors, and agreed to their demands: to schedule a meeting of the Board of Trustees at which community members could present their concerns about the proposed plant. No arrests were made.[10]

On July 7, 2008, approximately 100 activists from the group Earth First! occupied the headquarters of American Municipal Power in Columbus, Ohio, calling for the cancellation of the new plant. Several protesters were arrested.[11]

On August 6, 2008, over 100 people attended a public hearing concerning waste permits for the plant. The meeting became contentious when supporters of the plant suggested that those opposing the plant were from outside the local area. A representative of the Sierra Club countered that AMP cared less about the Meigs County area than those attending, and argued that the permit would allow up to 172 pounds of mercury to be released by the plant each year. He also pointed to an internal email from an employee of the Ohio EPA stating that he was “struggling personally and professionally” with finding economic and social justification for the new plant. The EPA is accepting comments on the project through August 26 before it makes a decision on the permit applications.[12]

In February 2009, AMP requested a $30 million loan from money set aside by state lawmakers for advanced-energy projects. Environmental groups contend that the company should not qualify for the low-interest loan, arguing that the proposed plant is too similar to older Ohio plants, and that the scrubber system will not reduce the plant's estimated 7.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Although state officials have not yet approved the loan, they and AMP say the proposed plant qualifies, because it would use a more advanced scrubber to capture other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.[13]

On March 16, 2009, the Ohio EPA issued the final solid waste permit-to-install for the AMP Generating Station.[14]

Stimulus Support

In June, 2009, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s released a $30 million "bridge loan" for this project from state stimulus funds. Despite the objections of environmental groups, the governor's office said the plant qualifies for the state money because of its use of pollution controls. The company said that the stimulus loan was a major factor in breaking ground on schedule. The stimulus funds are derived from federal stimulus monies intended to support "clean coal."[15][16]

Proposing a Natural Gas plant instead

On November 25, 2009 AMP announced it had canceled the plant due to the "escalating prices that have put the cost of the plant close to $4 billion. Two years ago, the estimated cost was $2.5 billion", and was exploring plans for a natural gas-powered plant instead.[17]

Federal Funding for a Gas Line

In April 2010, AMP said it’s considering redesigning the Letart Falls site into a natural gas-fired power plant, but there is no gas line. Ohio Congressman Charlie Wilson has asked for $17 million in federal funds to run a natural gas line to the proposed plant, putting it at the top of his list for appropriations in his 12-county district. While flying aboard Air Force One with President Barack Obama, Wilson said he received a favorable response from President Obama about the situation and later received a phone call from US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu saying the $17 million will be the top appropriation from the US Department of Energy in an upcoming spending bill.[18]

Project Details

Sponsor: American Municipal Power - Ohio
Location: Meigs County, OH
Capacity: 960 MW (two 480 MW units)
Type: Pulverized coal
Projected in service: 2012 and 2013
Status: Permitting


Citizen Groups



  1. American Municipal Power Generating Station: Project Overview, AMP-Ohio website, accessed January 2008.
  2. "American Municipal Power will not build coal-fired power plant", John Funk, The Plain Dealer, November, 25, 2009.
  3. "Plant Not Worth Cost of Air Fix, Group Says", Columbus Dispatch, September 24, 2007.
  4. "Despite Pleas, Coal-Fired Plant OK’d in Oberlin", Lorain County Chronicle-Telegram, October 2, 2007.
  5. “Bowling Green Looks to Coal Power Despite ‘Green’ Practices", Toledo Blade, October 21, 2007.
  6. "Community News Briefs: City OKs Electric Contract", Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 30, 2007.
  7. "Yellow Springs Votes Not to Sign AMP Contract Now", Ohio Citizen website, October 16, 2007.
  8. “Westerville Out of Power-Plant Agreement", Columbus Dispatch, October 24, 2007.
  9. “Groups Organizing Opposition to Plant", Athens Messenger, December 4, 2007.
  10. "Mountain Justice Takes On King Coal in Columbus", WattHead blog, Mar. 28, 2008.
  11. "Power Plant Protest Ends With Arrests", WBNS 10TV, July 7, 2008.
  12. "Hearing on Meigs Power Plant Gets Hotter than a Coal Furnace" Athens News, August 7, 2008.
  13. Spencer Hunt, "Utility contends its project qualifies as "advanced energy" effort because facility would use new type of scrubber," Columbus Dispatch, February 23, 2009.
  14. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  15. "AMP-Ohio’s Meigs County project gets state stimulus loan," Business First of Columbus, June 9, 2009
  16. "Ohio coal, solar plants to get job-stimulus funding," Columbus Dispatch, June 10, 2009.
  17. "American Municipal Power will not build coal-fired power plant", John Funk, The Plain Dealer, November, 25, 2009.
  18. Beth Sergent, "Obama hears case for AMP in Meigs" Pomeroy Daily Sentinel, April 9, 2010.

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