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Published: Thursday, 1/22/2009

30 gather to oppose plans for coke plant

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The investors group trying to build a $1 billion coking facility and co-generation power plant on Maumee Bay held an informational meeting last night in Oregon for residents of a tiny village opposed to its plan.

The residents, however, held their own counter-meeting, and attracted more participants.

Thirty residents of Harbor View gathered in their village hall to express unwavering opposition to the project planned by FDS Coke LLC.

Their main concern: The large plant, to be less than a mile west of them on the Toledo-Oregon line, would dump pollution in the form of coal dust, particulates, and gaseous emissions on their downwind village of 50 households.

"We don't want a coking facility out here. We don't want any more pollution out here. We just want to enjoy our lives out here," Dennis Szych said.

Nadine Grimm said she has a special-needs child who "is really susceptible to pollution and emissions. I am dead-set against that plant."

The FDS Coke meeting was held in Oregon City Council chamber and attracted about 10 attendees who watched a PowerPoint presentation on the pro-posed project.

Lance Traves, the project's manager and environmental consultant, said the plant would produce virtually no particulates and that its other emissions would be far less than those given off by coke plants currently in operation in Ohio and elsewhere.

Harbor View and the Sierra Club have appealed FDS Coke's permit modification approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency last year.

FDS responded by offering to pay Harbor View $100,000 per year for five years if the village dropped its opposition to the project.

Village officials rejected the offer out of hand.

Mr. Traves said the offer also was made in recognition that Harbor View, unlike Oregon and Toledo, would receive no tax revenues from the coke plant.

Getting Harbor View's cooperation "would certainly resolve another uncertainty," Mr. Traves said before the Oregon meeting. "We recognize they are not receiving direct benefits from the project."

George Weber, the president of FDS Coke, said before the Oregon meeting that he expected to hear this week whether a financing package would be available for the project.

If it was not, the project probably would be moved "offshore," he explained.

The project is planned for 51 acres owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Staff writer Tom Henry contributed to this report.

Contact Carl Ryan at:

carlryan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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