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The Latest: Entergy to pay $5M penalty; can build plant

February 22, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on New Orleans’ City Council’s vote on a settlement that would allow Entergy to go ahead with a new power plant project and pay a $5 million penalty for using paid actors go express support for the project at past hearings (all times local):

6 p.m.

A utility giant can go ahead with a planned gas-fired power plant in eastern New Orleans but will pay a $5 million penalty in the wake of a scandal involving actors who were paid to express phony support for the project in public hearings.

The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved a resolution including the penalty Thursday evening. It did not revoke permission for Entergy New Orleans to build the plant, as some plant opponents wanted.

Supporters of the plant say it’s needed to ensure reliable power at peak usage times. Opponents expressed concerns over emissions and the cost of the project.

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2 p.m.

New Orleans’ City Council is hearing testimony on a settlement that would let a utility giant go ahead with a new power plant project despite a scandal arising from the use of paid actors to provide phony support for the project.

The New Orleans affiliate of Entergy Corporation has agreed to pay a $5 million penalty for the use of secretly paid supporters at public hearings, but that is contingent on the council not revoking its prior approval of the gas-fired power plant.

Opponents of the plant angrily opposed the settlement at a committee hearing last week. And they returned for Thursday’s full council meeting. They are concerned about the plant’s cost and environmental effects. They say the project should be scuttled or the regulatory review process should begin anew.