While President Donald Trump is unwinding his predecessor's environmental rules, it doesn't mean Logansport's former coal-fired power plant will be starting up again.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama's administration set emissions restrictions as part of a plan to curb climate change. Rules applying to facilities like Logansport Municipal Utilities' power plant went into effect in January 2016. Because LMU couldn't meet the new guidelines, its plant burned through the last of its coal in January 2016 before shutting down.
The Logansport Utility Service Board later approved a severance package totaling more than $1 million to the more than 30 laid-off employees who worked at the plant.
The plant generated about 30 percent of LMU's power while Duke Energy Indiana supplied the rest. Duke Energy Indiana started supplying all of LMU's power following the shutdown and is contracted to continue to do so through 2018.
Trump signed an executive order Tuesday, March 28 that aims to dismantle the Obama administration's climate rules.
But it won't allow LMU's power plant to fire up with coal again, according to LMU Superintendent Paul Hartman.
Facing the federal rule LMU was not equipped to follow in 2016, the plant was never decommissioned with the intent of bringing it back online and has gone over a year free of operation and preservation, Hartman explained.
"It's all just rusted in place at this point," he said.
The utility service board in October 2016 approved an agreement with NextEra Energy Power Marketing out of Juno Beach, Florida, that will provide LMU's power from Jan. 1, 2019 through May 2024.
The agreement permits LMU to generate 10 percent of its own power as long as it's from a renewable source.
Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell announced in November 2016 that he had been referred to the owner of a natural gas turbine built for a power plant in California that never came to fruition. Kitchell later signed a free agreement with Purdue University's Technical Assistance Program to explore the feasibility of repurposing LMU's former coal-fired plant, part of which addresses the possibility of installing the natural gas turbine.
The report, completed March 27, states the turbine "Does not appear to be a good fit for Logansport" and that repurposing the plant "would require significant investment to investigate" if any of its equipment "could be reused."
Kitchell said Thursday he remains interested in pursuing local solar power generation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Reach Mitchell Kirk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5130