Duke Energy closing Beckjord power plant by 2015

BATAVIA, OH (FOX19) - Duke Energy announces on Monday that they will be closing one of their power plants by the New Year in 2015.

Duke Energy says they will be closing the W.C.Beckjord Station in New Richmond by January 1 of 2015. Duke Says that the 60-year-old plant has served many but the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to implement new environmental regulations that would require hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the plant into compliance.

Officials say they will continue operating all six coal-fired units at Beckjord until the anticipated 2015 closing date.

An estimated 120 employees work at the Beckjord Station. Duke Energy says that will work with the impacted workers and unions to determine other positions for employment.

The company plans to use the property for utility –related purposes in the future.

Local officials say that the plant closing will affect the Clermont County in many ways.

"We regret that Duke is unable to find another alternative rather than close the Beckjord Station," said Board of Clermont County Commissioners Vice President Bob Proud.  "The economic impact of closing Beckjord will be significant.  Clermont County will lose many jobs and will experience a substantial loss in property taxes. The effect of this closure will be felt countywide."

"Beckjord has been a great neighbor to the village," said New Richmond Mayor Ramona Carr.  "Their closure is more than a financial impact in terms of tax revenue; they also represent jobs and impact other business in our community. While we are very disappointed in the closure, we understand that they have some tough decisions that they need to make due to the environmental laws."

What is the overall loss in real and property taxes to the community?  "It will be significant," said Clermont Auditor's Office Chief Deputy Chuck Tilbury.

Tilsbury say he will meet with  local schools, the village of New Richmond, and Pierce Township leaders to discuss the overall impact of the closure of the plant later this week.

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