West Louisville residents fighting possible alternative methane plant locations

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Health and safety are two of the concerns that helped put the brakes on a proposed methane plant in west Louisville. But despite that, some city leaders and neighbors are still fighting the project.

Star Energy put its project on hold, but neighbors and some members of Metro Council say it isn't a permanent hold.

"It is not over, we know it's not over. They want us to put down our guard," said Ruth Lowe, who lives across the street from the proposed plant. "They want us to say, OK, alright, whatever, but we are not going to say that."

After widespread concern and protest, Star Energy pulled the proposed Methane Plant at 17th and Maple, but Lowe says the battle isn't over.

"They've not accepted the fact that the community does not want it," Lowe said.

Tuesday afternoon, a Metro Council Planning Committee voted in favor of putting some limitations on the proposed plant.

"No, it's not over," said Metro Councilman David James.

Councilman James said a recent conversation gave him some insight into the possible plans of the people trying to build the methane plant.

"I actually spoke with the owner of star energy last week, and he still has eyes on trying to, at some point and time, re-approach the idea of having it at 17th and Maple," he explained.

The committee voted on a moratorium and an ordinance that would require the planning commission to conduct a study. The goal of the study is to find the best place to build the plant.

Councilman James said that does not include the current location.

"There is no circumstance in which I would be in favor of 17th and Maple," he said.

"I did some research and the smell is bad, it is usually done in rural areas on farms," said Lowe.

Lowe has done her homework on biodigesters and that's why she is sending a letter to the planning commission. The letter helps to express her thoughts and concerns.

"It says that the people who initially introduced this idea -- gloss over the fact that there is going to be a smell," she said.

Mayor Greg Fischer also released a statement on Tuesday, which read, "I support a temporary moratorium until we, as a community, decide where in the city biodigesters could be built. Biodigesters are a proven and safe technology used worldwide and having a clear understanding of the ground rules for constructing them in our city is a prudent move."

The issue now goes to the full council for a vote. An attorney for Star Energy attended Tuesday's committee meeting, but he declined to comment on the issue.

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