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Land conservation group, Clemson residents stand against Duke Energy plant

Katie McCarthy//News Editor

Tanya Hyatt (left) and Rep. Gary Clary (right) talk to the crowd before releasing the helium balloons into the air.

More than 50 residents and local representatives gathered Friday afternoon at 100 Vineyard Rd. to show their opposition to Duke Energy’s plans to build a CHP (combined heat and power) plant on the eastern edge of Clemson University’s property.

Representatives from Upstate Forever, a land conservation and advocacy group based out of Greenville, flew helium balloons to show how tall the 70 foot smokestacks would be and help the community understand what they would look like.

“I wanted to understand the site, and I couldn’t understand it from Google Earth [satellite images],” said Shelley Robbins, Upstate Forever’s energy and state policy manager.


Robbins added that she has walked the site and that she “can see the church [Clemson Presbyterian] from the potential site” as well as local residences.


“It confirms that this is not the right location for this plant,” she said.


Robbins said that Upstate Forever has requested to be included in the reevaluation process.


“If additional sites are proposed, we [want to] understand all of the issues associated with them … [so we] can make recommendations rather than being reactive,” Robbins said. “We’d rather be a part of the solution.”


Tanya Hyatt, who lives at 100 Vineyard Rd. with her husband, Peter, and their four children, said that she and local residents are concerned about the university’s reevaluation of the plant’s site.


“We don’t actually know if reevaluation means relocation or if reevaluation means they’re going to come back to us and want to put it in the same exact location,” she said.


Hyatt added that the university said it would keep residents informed about the reevaluation, but they haven’t heard anything other than that it won’t delay the plant’s completion. The plant is expected to begin operations in spring 2019.


“They’ve [the university] said they’re going to be open, honest and transparent moving forward, but they have not provided us with any open, honest and transparent information,” she said.


Rep. Gary Clary (R-Pickens) and city council members Mark Cato, Michael Fowler and John Ducworth also stopped by to speak with residents about their concerns.


“I’m a really proud graduate of Clemson University, but Clemson has too many other locations to place this facility rather than in the backyard of this great neighborhood,” Clary told The Tiger. “It’ll diminish property values and impact their lives in many bad ways.”

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