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Published: Friday, 3/19/2010

Proposed coke plant for Toledo area clears another hurdle


COLUMBUS - An appeals panel has kept a proposed coke plant on the Toledo-Oregon border alive, dismissing appeals that could have killed a pollution permit issued by the state.

The Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission issued summary judgment on Wednesday in favor of backers of the controversial FDS Coke Plant, ruling against the Sierra Club and residents of Harbor View.

The panel found that, even though construction of the plant has not begun, FDS has met its obligation to extend a modified air emissions permit because it had entered into a consulting contract.

"The commission believes 'a binding contractual obligation to undertake and complete within a reasonable time a continuing program of installation' encompasses much more than just the contract or contracts associated with the physical construction of a facility," the commission's order states.

"Particularly in those instances, such as presented herein, where the facility to be constructed is of a significant size or complexity, numerous contracts involving various design, management, and engineering aspects of constructing the facility may very well precede contracts relating to the actual physical construction at the site," it reads. "That does not mean, however, that those contracts should not be construed as binding contractual obligations to undertake a continuing program of installation."

The plant is proposed for a 51-acre Maumee Bay tract owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. The $800 million project includes a co-generation power plant to be fueled by steam from the coking plant.

The Sierra Club and Harbor View have the option of appealing the ERAC decision to Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

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