Allegheny County said it is too early to give a timeline of the permit process.

WEST NEWTON, Pa. (KDKA) — Residents in Elizabeth Township are fired up about the push for a gas-fired power plant.

The Allegheny County Health Department held a public hearing on the proposed plant on Tuesday. People in the township are concerned about their way of life if the plant goes through.

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“It’s going to be less than one-third of a mile from us,” said Cathy Anderson of Elizabeth Township.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

She fears the idea of a power plant near her backyard.

“Our biggest fear is air pollution. I think that ranks number one for everybody in this neighborhood,” Anderson said.

Invenergy, a Chicago-based company, has proposed building the 639-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant along the Youghiogheny River. The plant would sit on a 91-acre parcel of land next to the Great Allegheny Passage trail.

The community has been fighting the proposal for years. The plant was initially set for another location.

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The Allegheny County Health Department will review Tuesday’s comments and decide whether to grant an air permit for the gas-fired power plant.

“We are concerned not just for the air pollution but the noise, the lights. Once they put this in, you can’t unring the bell. It’s either now or never,” said township resident Karen Howell.

Ted Grice said the proposed plant is a new pollution source in a region with poor air quality.

“We are in a place in Allegheny County that has an F rating,” said Grice. “That is horrible for air quality.”

Joanne Hall feels a power plant would hurt the economic future of trail towns like West Newton and Sutersville.

“We are going through a revitalization here because of the Great Allegheny Passage trail and the river,” said Hall, a West Newton resident. “Our economic future depends on recreation. It does not depend on the fossil fuel industry.”

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Allegheny County said it is too early to give a timeline of the permit process.