Tue. 11:14 p.m.: Communities support power plant in Lordstown

LORDSTOWN – It was unanimous.

Lordstown officials, businesses and residents, along with leaders from other communities all expressed support tonight for the proposed $800 million natural gas to electric power plant that is expected to begin building in the village later this year.

More than a dozen people spoke in optimistic, almost glowing terms about what Clean Energy Future would bring to the village and to Trumbull county.

Company officials are hoping to begin building the plant in September and complete the project in May 2018.

The hearing was the first of a two-part process to determine whether the Ohio Power Siting Board will allow Clean Energy Future to move forward with its plan to construct, own and operate the 800 megawatt gas-fired, combined-cycle power station in the Lordstown Industrial Park off state Route 45. Next is an adjudicatory hearing 10 a.m. Aug. 11 in Columbus at the state Public Utilities Commission offices, 11th Floor Hearing Room 11-C, 180 E. Broad St.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill began the testimony Tuesday night, saying his administration and the village council has been 100 percent behind the project.

William Catlin, a member of the the Lordstown Local School District’s Board of Education, said the plant will not only help reduce the carbon emissions that come from fossil fuels produced, but is also expected to be a good neighbor.

“As you may know, many public schools in Ohio are having financial difficulties and have to rely on tax levies to survive with the erosion of tax dollars from the state,” Catlin said. “Clean Energy Futures has agreed to help out the Lordstown School District with financial assistance from the time of groundbreaking to the expiration of the 15-year tax agreement that was agreed upon with the Lordstown village school district.”

Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building Trades Council in Youngstown, said, “Where the building trades go, so goes the economy. We are having some discussions about the use of local building trade workers on this facility.”

Read the full story in the Wednesday Tribune Chronicle.