Now that local landowners, including the Hempstead County Hunting Club and several other plaintiffs have settled their four-year-old fight against the $2.1 billion project, only the Sierra Club and National Audubon Society continue to challenge the plant scheduled to begin generating electricity in late 2012.

Because the plant is about 70% completed, the hunting club concluded it was unlikely it could be stopped.

The deal between Southwestern Electric Power Co., a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based AEP, and the landowners requires the parties to withdraw from all lawsuits and administrative actions aimed at halting the plant. In return, the company promised not to construct additional generating units at the Turk site or build new coal plants within 30 miles of the plant. SWEPCO also agreed to install carbon-capture technology on Turk if it becomes financially feasible and to conduct a mercury study in the area near the facility.

“The folks at SWEPCO, the hunting club and the local landowners all want what’s best for Hempstead County and the surrounding area—including jobs, economic growth, and protection and enhancement of the environment,” said Venita McCellon-Allen, the utility’s president and COO. The Sierra Club says it’s not going away, however.