At its meeting Thursday (March 14), the New Orleans City Council approved an ordinance establishing the Entergy Penalty Settlement Fund, a move that solidifies its decision to not revisit its approval of Entergy New Orleans’ new power plant that will operate in New Orleans.
The Council unanimously approved the creation of the Entergy Penalty Settlement Fund, which establishes a separate fund to receive and hold the $5 million fine imposed on Entergy by the Council. The $5 million penalty against the utility giant \was levied as a result of the following the independent investigation into the New Orleans Power Station (NOPS) approval process last year.
Entergy came under fire after it was revealed that paid actors had been hired to show up at Council meetings and hearings in favor of the plant proposal.
At the last regular meeting on Feb. 28, 2019, the Council adopted Resolution R-19-78 imposing sanctions, cost protections and other safety modifications for Entergy relative to the NOPS, culminating ongoing efforts by the Council to assess and respond to the misconduct that was brought to light and later confirmed by independent investigators.
“The establishment of this fund is an important step toward ensuring that the money we acquire from Entergy through this fine is used only for the direct benefit of our residents in critical areas where they need it most,” said District “D” Councilmember Jared Brossett. “As Budget Committee Chair, I will remain committed to identifying those needs and designating this funding as strategically and effectively as possible to address them.
The ordinance does not allocate the use of the $5 million settlement. However, it states that once the settlement is received, the Council will appropriate the money to the Council’s budget with subsequent budget ordinances.
Despite the $5 million fine, many New Orleans East residents and environmental advocates, who had been hopeful that the astroturfing scandal would result in the reversal of the Council’s decision last year to approve the power plant, that are still sharply critical of the plans.