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Published: Monday, 6/29/2009

Lucas County officials to announce deal to keep plans for coking facilitiy

BLADE STAFF

Lucas County officials are expected Monday to announce a deal reached to help keep plans for a coking facility and co-generation power plant on the East Toledo-Oregon border from being scrapped.

Matt Sapara, director of development for the Lucas County Port Authority, said a private organization, which he would not name, will loan FDS Coke Plant LLC $191,000

Last week, county commissioners deferred a vote on a proposal to offer FDS a six-month, $200,000 county loan to help keep alive its plans for a new facility.

Ben Konop, Lucas County commissioner and Toledo mayoral hopeful, said he withdrew the proposal from the meeting’s agenda after receiving an advisory opinion from the county’s economic development department.

While the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission still has not ruled on several outstanding permit issues, as soon as it does, FDS can begin moving forward on the project, said Joe Vardon, Mr. Konop’s assistant. He added that Toledo has a commitment from FDS to "exhaust every resource to remain in Toledo."

However, the company needs to make a $200,000 payment related to the project to Midwest Independent System Operator Inc. Monday to keep the project active. If the payment is not made, even if the environmental review appeals commission would rule on the outstanding issues Tuesday, the project could not go ahead until at least November, Mr. Vardon said.

It has been five years since the original permit for the coking portion was issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The project is planned to be built on a 51-acre tract of Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority land along western Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay.

The consortium that put it together has promised 150 blue-collar jobs with average salaries of $45,000, along with 1,500 to 2,000 temporary construction jobs.



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