Massive new natural gas facility to be built in Cherokee Co.

An official announcement could come within weeks about a massive new natural gas electrical generation plant in New Summerfield in Cherokee County. The FGE Eagle Pines project is a $2.1 billion natural gas electrical generation facility, expected to be completed in 2019.

FGE, a Houston-area firm, already has a fact sheet up on its website.

“FGE Eagle Pines represents over $2.1 billion of direct investment in Cherokee County and the State of Texas,” the website says. “FGE Eagle Pines will create 3,450 megawatts of capacity, generating electricity to power over 3.5 million homes.”

The project could generate as many as 800 jobs during construction, and 40 permanent jobs for operations.

The project was “recently awarded largest air permit in state history by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,” the website notes. It will be built in three phases.

Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis said the company has been in talks with local officials for some time.

“There could be a big press event sometime in the next couple of weeks,” Davis said on Monday. “It’s now out of the rumor stage, and I’m optimistic it’s going to come to fruition soon.”

The county is already exploring tax abatement packages that could help incentivize the project, he added.

“It’s our understanding that this is going to be a clean, state-of-the-art facility,” Davis said. “You know, in East Texas, we like our electricity and we like our air conditioning. So the more we can stabilize the power (grid), the better for all of us.”

In November, Luminant announced it was laying off workers from its Martin Lake complex in nearby Rusk County. The old coal-fired power generating stations that once provided the bulk of the state’s electricity are no longer viable, especially with new pollution controls.

FGE’s website says the facility will generate more than just electricity - it also will produce as much as $200 million per year in local tax revenues.

Twitter: @tmt_roy

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