Lordstown does 180 on $1.2B power plant
Mayor now urges state to OK delay
LORDSTOWN — An appeal for more time to start construction on a $1.2 billion power plant here by the project’s developer now has the endorsement of the village’s mayor, who earlier this year opposed the extension.
Arno Hill’s reversal came after working through and resolving concerns with the developer, Clean Energy Future-Trumbull LLC, related to the company’s request, according to a letter on file with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Clean Energy Future-Trumbull, according to a letter March 18, asked the Ohio Power Siting Board to extend the Oct. 5 deadline one year for what’s called a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, which in simple language is approval to construct.
The company cited hardship brought on by the pandemic and its impact to the construction schedule of the plant.
Shortly thereafter on March 29, Hill and Kellie Bordner, Lordstown planning and zoning administrator / economic development director, wrote opposing the request, citing several concerns.
Hill later walked back the letter verbally, saying he was OK with the extension.
He followed that with a July 8 letter to the siting board memorializing in writing his request that the board withdraw the March 29 letter from consideration.
In response to the March letter, “TEC leadership immediately engaged with productive dialogue with leadership for the Village of Lordstown,” Hill, the mayor, wrote this month. “As a result of this dialogue, I am fully satisfied that the concerns voiced in our previous correspondence have been adequately resolved.
“This direct and timely engagement by TEC with the village of Lordstown is consistent with TEC’s past practice of close engagement with the local community,” Hill wrote. “TEC should be commended for this ongoing commitment to meaningful engagement with the community.”
The company’s request has not been docketed for the siting board’s consideration. The earliest the board could consider the request is in August because it will not meet in July.
Hill has asked the board to give Clean Energy Future’s request prompt attention.
“It is reasonable to grant the request,” Hill wrote this month. “The village of Lordstown and surrounding area are poised to benefit from the TEC project in a number of ways, including PILOT revenue, salary tax, income tax, property tax, water services revenues and a significant number of jobs. Failure to approve the requested extension would deprive the community of these benefits.”
PILOT revenue is payment in lieu of taxes.
Hill’s letter on July 8 came three days after the village’s Board of Public Affairs and council separately approved a water service agreement with Warren to provide the utility to the plant planned near the state Route 45 and Henn Parkway intersection.
Those decisions followed weeks of delay while there was debate over whether Warren or the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District would provide the water, throwing the entire plan into jeopardy.