Board approves measures for plant

Staff report

North beaver, pa.

At a public hearing Monday, North Beaver’s board of supervisors approved land development, zoning and conditional use for a proposed $750 million natural-gas-fired electricity generation plant at a 55-acre site along the Mahoning River near Route 551 in Lawrence County.

The plant, which would tap an existing natural-gas pipeline to provide power in both western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, will need federal and state permits for construction to go forward.

Officials with New Jersey-based LS Power said the plant’s construction alone could employ 500 people and provide 25 positions once it opens. If all goes according to plan, crews are expected to break ground on the facility in 2014, with an opening date slated for either 2016 or 2017.

Monday’s hearing was a chance for the public to weigh in, and about 50 residents attended to voice their concerns. But officials with LS Power already had redrawn plans for the facility around existing wetlands on the site, and little objection was received from the crowd.

Hickory Run Energy Station, as it will be called, will represent LS Power’s first venture into western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. The facility will be built on the site of the former American Cyanamid explosives manufacturing plant.

The natural-gas power station is one of six being proposed across Pennsylvania, and though electricity generation remains abundant, it is expected to help keep prices low as nine other coal-fired plants across the state come offline and close in the coming years.

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