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New Talks Underway Aimed at Relocating Coal Piles Next to Fox River in Green Bay

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - There are new talks taking place - aimed at relocating the coal piles stored along the Fox River in Green Bay. As Local 5's Kris Schuller reports area leaders believe there is a good chance that coal might one day -  be stored at the site of the Pulliam Power Plant.

Jeff Smith lives near the Fox River, across from the coal piles stored by the C. Reiss Coal Company. He says often coal dust builds up on his house.

“We pressure wash the house each year to get the coal dust off it. I know they do water it down and trap it, but we still do get dust that blows on the house and pits it,” Smith said.

It's an issue many nearby homeowners have complained of - urging city leaders to do something about it. Now Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt says a solution could be in reach.

“I think we may have a window of opportunity here so it's something that I'm obviously very serious about,” said Schmitt.

The mayor says the solution is Pulliam Power Plant operated by WPS and scheduled for decommission later this year. The mayor says he's having discussions with the C. Reiss Coal Company about relocating these coal piles to this plant at the mouth of the Fox River.

“There appears to be a willingness between all parties,” Schmitt said.

“I do think this is the most feasible opportunity we've seen in regards to moving these coal piles,” said Rep. Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay).

Genrich has long tried to move the coal. He has spoken with management here at C. Reiss and they appear interested.

“Obviously they need to be made whole and make financial sense for all concerned, but it does seem like a real possibility,” Genrich said.

But Matt Cullen says so far - no one from the city has contacted WPS about storing coal at the power plant.

“At this time our main focus is to continue to operate the plant safely and work toward the retirement of the plant in fall of 2018 or later,” said WPS Spokesperson Cullen.

But the mayor says discussions are underway and a permanent solution will take time. As he looks to move these coal piles - long a fixture here on the Fox River.

“Our initial discussions and meeting s have been quite positive, I think we have a long way to go, but I don't want to let this one get away,” said Mayor Schmitt.  

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