City council launching investigation into actors paid to support power plant

City council launching investigation into actors paid to support power plant

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Plans for a new $200 million power plant in New Orleans East may be on hold for now.

The New Orleans City council President Jason Williams announced Friday that the council is launching an investigation into the use of paid actors in their meetings on the plant.

The council said despite Entergy providing the findings for their own investigation, that they couldn't just take their word. The council also said they would release the findings from their own report, which would be conducted by an independent organization.

The actors in question were paid to appear as supporters of the new Entergy plant that also had vocal opposition.

Entergy has denied knowing about the actors.

The company said it hired a national public affairs firm to help organize support for the station at two city council meetings in October and February.

An internal investigation revealed the firm that Entergy hired. employed another company that paid actors to appear or speak at those meetings without Entergy's knowledge.

Opponents voiced health concerns over the gas-fired plant, and asked council members to delay the vote.

Ultimately, the city council voted six-to-one to allow Entergy to build that new power plant.

In a release yesterday, Williams said the city cannot move forward until the issue is resolved.

Entergy says the plant is needed for reliable electricity.  Opponents of the plant say what's really needed is a reliable process.

"We want the people to be able to have access in a democratic way to the process for vetting Entergy's project through the city council," said Janice Long, Energy Future New Orleans. "That didn't happen in the March 8 meeting so we want that reversed. We need to have transparency and a true democratic process for the city to participate in."

According to our partners at | The Times-Picayune, the council could subpoena the company to find out whether or not they really knew about the actors.

Two years ago the utility closed its Michoud Power Plant in New Orleans East. The new plant would be built on that site.

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