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Empire Electric says they're not closing Riverton plant - KOAM TV 7

Empire Electric says they're not closing Riverton plant, but there is a change

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The Riverton, Kansas plant for Empire District Electric Company is switching from coal to natural gas, and the company is dispelling some rumors about the plant.

The rumors began on an online forum page, SEKChatter.com, where users post about politics, news, and other topics.

Earlier this week a user posted the message "Empire is closing Riverton power plant".

Empire Electric says they are not closing the plant but there will be a change.  The plant will switch from burning coal to natural gas in order to follow environmental guidelines.

"The cost of retrofitting them to meet environmental regulations was cost prohibitive so we choose to switch to natural gas," says Amy Bass of Empire Electric.  "The bottom line is we're at Riverton.  We've been there for over 100 years.  We intend to be there well into the future."

With the change of coal to natural gas and an expansion the staff at Riverton will decrease but current employees will not lose their jobs.  Instead they will be transported to other plants, and that is a concern for Kansas state senator Jake LaTurner.

"The Riverton plant Empire District is very important to southeast Kansas and very important to the region for economic development economic impact," says Senator LaTurner.  "So it's my greatest hope that the folks at Empire are telling me the truth and staying open."

The Asbury plant is also undergoing upgrades to meet regulations and continue burning coal.

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