Economic Development

Petition Filed to Intervene in Trumbull Energy Project

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LORDSTOWN, Ohio – A Boardman-based company’s petition to intervene in Clean Energy Future LLC’s plans to build a second electrical generation plant here has raised questions from village officials and Clean Energy executives.

Vienna Investments LLC, which owns a building at the Lordstown Industrial Park where Clean Energy is constructing an $890 million power plant and has designs for a second one at the site, filed a petition before the Ohio Power Siting Board July 6 seeking intervention in the project, citing safety concerns.

“If I were losing sleep over safety, why wasn’t there anything said over the last 15 months,” said Bill Siderewicz, president of Boston-based Clean Energy Future. “If there was a safety issue, the first project would never have been approved.”

Siderewicz said Vienna Investments’ petition, if allowed, could impede the project or even threaten it.

Clean Energy Future is building an $890 million natural gas- fueled power plant along Henn Parkway and late last year unveiled plans to construct another plant of a similar size at the site. The Ohio Power Siting Board is reviewing the company’s application for the second plant.

Vienna Investments owns a building at 1702 Henn Parkway that it is leased to Magna Seating Systems, which manufactures seating modules for the Chevrolet Cruze, built at General Motors Co.’s Lordstown complex.

According to a memorandum supporting its petition, Vienna said it has a “real and substantial interest in the outcome of these proceedings as the project will affect its property and business operations.”

Among the reasons Vienna Investments lists as justification for petitioning the board is to “ensure that construction of the power station is done in a manner that is safe; that the construction and operation of the proposed power station does not adversely impact the safety of Vienna’s plant nor be disruptive to Vienna’s tenant or others in the Lordstown Industrial Park; that the new power station is sited and constructed in a manner consistent and in compliance with the covenants and restrictions of the Lordstown Industrial Park; and that the project takes into account future development within the Lordstown Industrial Park,” according to documents.

Vienna, according to its memorandum, said that there is concern that Clean Energy Future has not given “proper and adequate consideration to the operations of Vienna’s plant and the Lordstown Industrial Park as a whole.”

While Clean Energy Future obtained the proper modifications to covenants and restrictions at the Lordstown Park for the first project, the second plant, Clean Energy Future-Trumbull, has not, the petition argues.

Vienna acquired the Magna building and land from Copeland Properties 16 L.P. on Oct. 7, 2015, several months after the Ohio Power Siting Board heard testimony related to the first power plant. Then property owner Copeland Properties did not file a petition to intervene in that project.

The petition notes that the Magna building is less than 300 feet north of the proposed Clean Energy site.

Calls to Doug Lumsden of Vienna Investments and Boardman-based Davis International were not returned. Calls to Vienna Investments attorney, Leonard Schiavone, were also not returned.

The state board will host a public meeting scheduled for July 25 at Lordstown High School in which residents can speak out in support or against the project, Siderewicz said.

“I’ll be excited to see their presentation to the administrative law judge as to why this project isn’t safe,” Siderewicz said. “I’d love to hear him explain why this project should stop,” he said of Lumsden.

Siderewicz said that the siting board recommended approval for the first Clean Energy Future project, and that plant should be finished by the summer of 2018.

Were there any real safety concerns, then the state, the Lordstown Fire Department, or its police department could have easily put a stop to the project, he said.

“I’m hoping the facts will speak for themselves,” Siderewicz said. “We have faith in the system. If there was a safety issue, it would have never been approved in the first place.”

Mayor Arno Hill agreed. “If it’s a safety issue, be specific and what is it?” he queried. “I hope he comes to the meeting because myself and everyone else would like to know what these issued are.”

Ultimately, Hill characterized Vienna’s petition as a “bump in the road” toward completion of the second energy plant, since there have been no real concerns at the site thus far.

“I sure hope he shows up,” Hill said of Lumsden. “I think there are other motives here.”

Pictured: Rendering of Lordstown Energy Center under construction in Lordstown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.