Chambers cooperate on plant

The chambers of commerce want to help companies
working on the project.



EAST LIVERPOOL — Should information that could be helpful to a proposed coal to liquid fuel plant be stored on paper or electronically?

That question will be answered in time, Pamela Hoppel, chief executive officer of the East Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said Monday.

The chambers of commerce in Columbiana County have agreed to work together to support the proposed $4 billion Baard Energy plant that may be built near Wellsville.

Hoppel said that the chambers had been cooperating since 2002 by preparing lists of information on facilities.

But it’s the first time that the chambers have agreed to work together to support a project.

The construction — which could take four years — would have an annual economic impact of $350 million to $370 million for the area, according to the East Liverpool chamber.

When completed, the plant would employ 300 people, Hoppel said.

The plan is to have information available for the plant operators or contractors who may find themselves in need of goods or services. Contractors unfamiliar with the area may not immediately know where to find them.

Contractors in need may want to search from the field using electronic devices, or may favor paper lists of construction suppliers.The chambers want to help the project by making sure the workers can quickly find what they need, Hoppel said.

Working as a team

The northern and southern portions of the county have not always cooperated on project. What’s important now, Hoppel said, “Is that we’re doing it as a team.”

The chambers involved are those in Calcutta, Columbiana, East Liverpool, Lisbon, Salem and Wellsville.

Because of the size of the project, there are plenty of opportunities for the communities.

Carol Cobbs, president of the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce, said the city is a 30-minute drive — not an unusually long commute these days — from the proposed plant. As a result, she said, some workers at the plant could decide to live in Columbiana

Hoppel said the joint effort also highlights the reality of attracting new businesses.

“You have to work area wide,” she said.

Tracy Drake, the chief executive officer of the Columbiana County Port Authority, said he had suggested the chambers work together to support the project.

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