Lordstown Village Requests Halt on Trumbull Energy Project

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – The village is requesting the Power Siting Board of Ohio to order the Trumbull Energy Center to suspend work on its $1.2 billion gas-fueled electrical plant because of noncompliance.

Lordstown attorney Matthew Ries filed a complaint before the board July 24. The village says the company is in violation of a certificate it was issued in 2017, and has requested the board to order work at the site to stop until the project comes into compliance with Lordstown’s site plan review process and zoning permit process.

At issue are the provisions in Trumbull Energy Center’s work certificate, which was granted on the basis that the 34.7-acre project site is zoned for industrial purposes and the surrounding areas share similar zoning, the complaint said.

“However, much of the TEC project site is being constructed on property that is zoned residential,” according to the complaint. Also, property to the south and east are also zoned residential, documents say.

A request by Trumbull Energy to rezone the parcel from residential to industrial was rejected by the Village Council in June after residents living near the project voiced concerns.

“Despite this, TEC proceeded with construction on the residentially zoned land. This is one example of many in which TEC has acted in violation of the OPSB certificate,” the complaint reads.

Other violations that Ries points to in the filing include the company’s failing to provide detailed engineering drawings of the final project designed prior to construction, operating within a 75-foot wetland buffer, engaging in construction activity outside proscribed hours, and that the company “does not appear to have an environmental consultant onsite,” as the certificate requires.

The filing also raises issues with Trumbull Energy drilling a well to access Lordstown’s water supply without a permit or authorization from the Trumbull County Board of Health, the Ohio Board of Health, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or the village of Lordstown.

Lordstown’s complaint also cites that the project is intruding on wetlands in violation of its certificate.

The village issued a stop-work order on June 9, but “TEC refused to cease construction of its facility on the residentially zoned parcel,” the complaint said.

Trumbull Energy Center was first announced in 2017 and developed by Boston-based Clean Energy Future. Clean Energy also developed the Lordstown Energy Center, which operates on contiguous land at the Lordstown Industrial Park.

Clean Energy has since sold its entire position in the Trumbull project to a consortium of equity investors that includes Korea Southern Power Co., Siemens Energy Power Development & Investments and Korea Overseas Infrastructure Urban & Development Corp.

The deal was closed in November 2022, and site work began earlier this year. The project is expected to employ nearly 1,000 tradesmen during the plant’s construction phase.

The Trumbull project has been hampered over the years by legal challenges and disputes over its water supply.

“VOL wants to work cooperatively with TEC, but has significant concerns about the current status of this construction project and its impact on the surrounding residential areas,” Lordstown Planning & Zoning Inspector Kelly Bordner and attorney Matthew Ries wrote in a letter to the board dated July 7.

Because of the project’s proximity to residential areas, the village “is requesting more involvement in the oversight of this type of facility that may typically be requested by a political subdivision,” the letter stated.

Mayor Arno Hill said some residents have said that they’ve experienced some noise at times from the first power plant, although he could not independently say how much noise. 

“Residents don’t want to shut it down,” he said of the Trumbull Energy project. “I think they don’t want the noise.”

Hill, who has supported the Trumbull Energy Center, said he’s unsure as to whether the Power Siting Board’s authority supersedes local zoning ordinances.

“Does the Ohio Power Siting Board trump that?” he asked rhetorically. “I don’t know.”

Still, the mayor believes the project will go forward.

“My feeling is that at the end of the day, it’ll be built,” he said.

 Pictured at top: An artist’s rendering of the Trumbull Energy Center.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.