Feb 17: The arithmetic shows coal-to-liquid refineries can't make U.S. more energy independent
COLUMBUS -- "Baard Energy says its proposed coal-to-liquid refinery for Wellsville will help the United States become more more energy independent. Sounds great, but the arithmetic doesn't work. Let's start at the refinery level. Typically, for every one ton of coal fed into a refinery using this technology, two barrels of liquid fuel come out the other end, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study. The Baard Energy proposal is no exception. They say they will use 9.3 million tons of coal a year to produce 53,000 barrels a day of liquid fuel. That works out to 2.08 barrels per ton of coal.
Now back to energy independence. Imported crude oil is about 60% of U.S. consumption. What would it take, using the coal-to-liquids technology, to displace just 10% of U.S. oil consumption? It would require a 42% increase in U.S. coal production, or 475 million tons more coal every year, to run these refineries, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
This is simply not going to happen. People will not stand for it," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Feb 16: Baard Energy wants to build an "Ohio River Clean Fuels Coal-To-Liquids Facility" in Wellsville.
What is that? What would it look like?
COLUMBUS -- "It would help neighbors in Wellsville and the surrounding area to know what a plant like Baard Energy wants to build looks like in real life. Here is one, in Secunda, South Africa, that uses the same technology Baard plans to use.
If this looks like a refinery, its because that's what it is. The name 'Ohio River Clean Fuels Coal-To-Liquids Facility' was chosen to avoid having to call it a refinery. A 'refinery' is defined as 'an installation that manufactures finished petroleum products from crude oil, unfinished oils, natural gas liquids, other hydrocarbons, and oxygenates.' Coal is a hydrocarbon, and the Baard plant is a refinery," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Feb 8: Baard bond resolution has expired
CLEVELAND -- "The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) confirmed today that it has not issued any bonds for the proposed Baard Energy Ohio Clean River Fuels plant. The company had received an agreement from the state authority in December 2006 for the issuance of $4 billion in bonds. Responding to a public records request from Ohio Citizen Action Money in Politics Project Director Catherine Turcer, OAQDA Executive Director Mark Shanahan said that, while OAQDA had taken a first step in possible issuance of the bonds with the December 2006 resolution, no further steps have been taken and the resolution expired on January 1, 2010. While OAQDA does have the power to extend the resolution, he said, 'at this time, the project has not requested such an extension nor has OAQDA considered one,'" Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Feb 8: Here is what Ohio EPA permits would allow the proposed Baard coal plant to put into our air every year:
Source: Ohio EPA permits for the proposed Baard coal plant in Wellsville, Ohio, compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The permitted emissions do not take into account possible flaring due to process upsets or emergencies, when pollutants may be sent out untreated. Of the permitted pollutants, many emissions would be concentrated in start-ups and shut-downs at the facility. Hazardous air pollutants are a group of 25 pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act. They include lead, formaldehyde, and solvents such as benzene. “Particulates (PM 10)” is a subset of “Particulates total”, but are reported separately.
Feb 1: Has Baard Energy's $4 billion bond now lapsed?
COLUMBUS -- "On behalf of Ohio Citizen Action, and pursuant to the Ohio Public Records Act, Ohio Revised Code 149.93, I am writing to request information about the status of OAQDA’s financial support of the proposed Baard coal-to-liquids plant in Wellsville, Ohio. OAQDA approved a $4 billion bond issue for this facility in December 2006. The resolution passed by OAQDA stated, 'If the first series of bonds has not been issued by January 1, 2010, then this resolution shall expire, unless extended by the Authority,' Please provide responses to the following questions: (1) Were any bonds issued pursuant to this agreement before January 1, 2010? If so, in what amounts and for what terms? (2) If no bonds were issued by January 1, 2010, did the resolution expire, or was it extended? If so, for how long?," letter, Catherine Turcer, Director, Money in Politics Project, Ohio Citizen Action, to Dr. Mark Shanahan, Executive Director, Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, dated January 26, 2010.
Feb 1: Wilson defends Ohio EPA in Baard debate
Jan 27: In State of the State speech, Gov. Ted Strickland doesn't mention his biggest 2010 project: Proposed $5 billion Baard coal plant
Avoids use of word "coal" at all
Words in State of the State speeches
COLUMBUS -- "Yesterday, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland delivered his fourth State of the State speech to a joint session of the Ohio legislature in Columbus. In the lengthy speech, Strickland did not mention his biggest 2010 project, a proposed $5 billion Baard Energy coal plant for Wellsville on the Ohio River. In fact, in the 5,461-word speech, the word 'coal' doesn't appear at all. When Gov. Strickland's EPA issued the third pollution permit for the project, Baard Energy CEO John Baardson said, 'Some questioned the ability of the project, the State EPA, and Governor Strickland's staff to accomplish this task in such a short time frame. However, due to the leadership of Governor Strickland and the Ohio EPA director, a rigorous work process was established which enabled the issuing of the permits. This type of professional approach will definitely help to create more jobs in Ohio (East Liverpool Review November 22, 2008). In fact, the permits had been pushed through so quickly that they have been tied up in legal challenges ever since," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Jan 26: Baard Energy plans to buy 9 million tons of coal a year for its coal-to-liquid plant. Will it come from mountaintop removal coal companies?
COLUMBUS -- "Baard Energy wants to burn 9 million tons of coal a year in its proposed coal-to-liquid plant in Wellsville, Ohio. Where would it come from? Here’s what the company says in its September 2007 “Project Summary” which remains the most recent account on the Baard Energy website: 'The Project expects to use a combination of eastern bituminous coal and biomass to produce fuels including ultra low sulfur FT diesel, jet fuel and naphtha, all with a lower emissions profile than traditional petroleum based products,'" Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action. 152 KB doc.
Jan 22: Group: Baard emission claims, permits don’t match
LISBON -- "An environmental activist organization criticized for warning federal regulators about the possible ramifications of the Baard Energy project say it is within it rights to do so and will continue to act in this manner. 'We want the law to be followed and told the (U.S.) Department of Energy that. We believe that's within our rights,' said Shannon Fisk, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The NRDC, along with the Sierra Club, have appealed the state and federal decisions to award the permits needed for Baard to build a $6 billion coal-to-liquid fuel conversion plant on property in the Wellsville area the Columbiana County Port Authority intends to purchase," Tom Giambroni, Salem News.
Jan 19, 2010: Baard delays caused by misinformation
EAST LIVERPOOL -- "Environmental groups have been accused of continuing to spread misinformation at the federal level about Baard Energy project that officials fear could further impede efforts to make the $6 billion plant a reality. The concern was raised at Monday's meeting of the county Port Authority board by member Charles Presley and Chief Executive Officer Tracy Drake, after they met earlier in the day with Baard officials. Presley said the meeting was to discuss the status of Baard's plans to build a coal-to-liquid fuel conversion plant on port authority property outside Wellsville. The project is more than a year behind schedule because of problems obtaining financing complicated by Baard's decision last March to withdraw its application for a $2.5 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy," Tom Giambroni, East Liverpool Review.
EAST LIVERPOOL -- Columbiana County Port Authority cuts budget, Jeremy Lydic, Business Journal.
Dec 21, 2009: Port will amend bond agreement for landfill
EAST LIVERPOOL -- "In other action, the port authority extended purchase/option agreements until June 30 for 13 of the 17 properties that make up 522 acres for the Baard Energy Project. The option payments totaled $182,500, which were paid by Baard. The port authority is to acquire the property for Baard's proposed coal-to-liquid fuels plant, but the project has been delayed because of the company's difficulty in lining up private investors. The purchase/option extension for the other four property owners expires in September," Tom Giamborini, Salem News.
Nov 23, 2009: Mayor credits chamber, volunteer groups for village’s success
WELLSVILLE -- "[Wellsville Mayor Joe Surace] said if Baard Energy ever comes to the area, 'you're going to see some great things,' and said he 'really does believe' it will be built after speaking to company officials and others. 'When you're talking $6 billion, it just doesn't happen overnight,' he said of the project. 'One of these days, we'll walk out of Kat's [Kitchen] restaurant and say, 'My God, what happened to the Wellsville I once knew?''" Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert, East Liverpool Review.
June 22, 2009: Chamber prepares for auction
WELLSVILLE -- "Hoping to raise funds to renovate the village gazebo, the Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce will host a public auction at 6 p.m. July 11 at the Alumni Center. . . . Chamber President Randy Allmon said this week . . . 'We want to spruce up the town as much as possible with Baard Energy coming,'" Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert, East Liverpool Review.
June 7, 2009: Land parcel sought by Baard could be part of drug forfeiture
LISBON -- "Nearly 30 percent of the land being sought for the Baard Energy project is the subject of a forfeiture action by the Columbiana County Prosecutor's Office, which has charged the owner with running a methamphetamine lab at the site. . . . [Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Tracy] Drake said Baard is still in the process of putting together its funding package for the project, and when that is done they will exercise the options and purchase the land. The plan is to initially lease the land to Baard, which is expected to eventually purchase the land from the port authority as part of the deal. The port authority has secured $5 million in funding through the state to pay for the option agreements and eventual site acquisition. Drake said they will draw down on that money once Baard's financing package is in place. He said they are prepared to exercise the purchase agreements as quickly as possible, regardless of the status of [Peter S.] Barta's legal problems. But what if Barta is convicted and his property forfeited to the county before the port authority is prepared to act? Drake doesn't believe the forfeiture would interfere with the pre-existing contract they have with Barta," Tom Giamborini, East Liverpool Review.
May 5, 2009: Baard Energy gets another financial boost
YOUNGSTOWN -- "The proposed coal-to-fuel energy plant for Columbiana County gets another financial boost, putting Wellsville another step closer to getting the new plant with hundreds of jobs. The Port Authority will be getting $4.5 million from the state to buy land along the river for the Ohio River Clean Fuels plant that Baard Energy is planning to build on the site. Baard says it now has all the permits it needs and plans to start construction next year," WYTV.
Apr 21, 2009: Port Authority updated on Baard progress
Mar 30, 2009: Baard showing cracks
EAST LIVERPOOL -- "It looks like the Baard Energy project may be falling apart. I see in the papers where the company is recalling an application for a $2.5 billion federal loan in favor of pursuing private financing. Good luck Mr. Baardson. According to The Review, Baard Vice President Steve Dopuch said the move involved 'protect[ing] our project from the intervenors.' By 'intervenors,' I assume he is referring to the environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club, which opposes America's continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels like coal. I’ve seen lots of big energy projects come and go in our area—at least enough to recognize the familiar story arc," M. Stewart, Ohio River Life blog.
Mar 27, 2009: Baard Coal Co pulls out of DOE Loan Guarantee Program
WASHINGTON, DC -- "Baard Energy, an alternative energy firm, has decided to pull out of the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program, saying Friday the agency is considering environmental challenges as part of its risk assessment. The decision to pull out of the program highlights a tension between the environmental community - much of which is fighting to shut down coal generation altogether - and the coal industry's plans to move to low emission technology," Ian Talley and Siobhan Hughes, Dow Jones Newswire.
Mar 9, 2009: Let me count the reasons why spending billions on a coal -to-fuel plant is a bad idea
YOUNGSTOWN -- "It would thus seem that the Wellsville plant would depend on three main factors for success … the end of the cheap oil era, which may very well lie down the road, a dramatic increase in regional coal production, and a national and state policy lenient toward both CO2 emissions and water pollution. Liquid coal plants also produce vast amounts of wastewater... Given the cost of the product, opposition from powerful environmental groups, the likelihood of closer federal CO2 regulation, and the Obama administration’s opposition to heavily polluting industry, I’d say that the chances for the proposed liquid coal plant in Columbiana County range from slim to none," Robert Stanger, letter to the editor, Youngstown Vindicator. Published March 8.
Feb 2, 2009: Twilight
Jan 30, 2009: U.S. Air Force drops plans to build coal-to-liquid fuel plant
WASHINGTON, DC -- "The U.S. Air Force yesterday dropped plans to build a coal-to-liquid plant to produce fuel for its aircraft, a plan that would've reduced dependence on oil but increased the emissions of the heat-trapping gases that cause global warming.. . . The 2007 energy law requires that federal agencies not purchase fuels with greater greenhouse gas emissions than conventional petroleum fuels," McClatchy Newspapers.
Jan 27, 2009: State awards $4.5 million loan for Baard plant
Jan 26, 2009: County is poised for huge plant
Baard complex would create 450 permanent jobs
SALEM -- "Targeted for 600 acres along the Ohio River near Wellsville, the $6 billion Baard Energy plant would convert coal and biomass, such as wood chips, into liquid diesel that could fuel everything from commercial passenger jets to railroad engines to trucks... Funding such a massive project is a challenge, especially in a time when lenders and investors are trying to survive what some believe is the worst recession since the Great Depression. But the fact the plant fits the the growing focus on 'green' energy is helping to raise its profile with federal and state officials who are projected to help financially. In addition, the company is working to raise about $200 million from private equity investors by late March or early April for engineering and ground clearing, Baardson said," Larry Ringler, Salem News.
Jan 23, 2009: North Dakota coal-to-fuel plant stalled
BISMARK, ND -- "Developers of a coal-to-fuel plant proposed for western North Dakota say the $4 billion project is on hold while they await direction from the Obama administration and Congress. 'A new federal plan is needed to see how coal fits in, in the future,' said David Straley, a North American Coal Corp. spokesman. 'We don't want to put $200 million in the ground and not know where we're at.' The project would be the first large commercial coal-to-fuel plant in the U.S., developers say. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said he supports the project but it's 'perfectly reasonable' for it to be put on hold because of uncertainty in the marketplace and changing federal energy policies," Associated Press.
Jan 13, 2009: Baard site preparation set to begin within six months
Jan 5, 2009: Plans progress to build coal-to-liquid fuel plant
WELLSVILLE -- "Columbiana County officials are quickly moving ahead with plans to start a plant here that would turn coal into liquid fuel. Tracy Drake, chief executive officer for the county port authority, said last week that he was submitting a grant application to the state for funds to buy most of the land. The Ohio Department of Development had $5 million available for acquisition and 'told' the authority to apply for $4.5 million for the project, Drake said. That will leave the authority and Baard Energy of Vancouver, Wash., to find about $700,000 needed to buy the proposed site. Baard Energy wants to build the plant with a cost of up to $6 billion," D.A. Wilkinson, Youngstown Vindicator, Published January 4.
Dec 21, 2008: Tomorrow's fuel powers dreams in eastern Ohio
WELLSVILLE -- "In this former factory town — where hard times have settled in as a way of life — Baard Energy of Vancouver, Wash., plans to soon begin building a $6 billion business that will convert coal and plant material to liquid jet fuel and diesel fuel. 'This is the first plant of this kind in Ohio as well as in the nation,' John Baardson, CEO of Baard Energy, said last month when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued the final air permit for Baard's Ohio River Clean Fuels project. On the same day, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a streams and wetlands permit — the only federal license needed for the project, Baardson said in his prepared statement. The plant is now scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2012, said Baardson," Bob Dart, Springfield News-Sun.
Dec 17, 2008: Coal-to-liquid fuel plan receives $500,000 grant
WELLSVILLE -- "The Baard Energy plan to turn coal into liquid fuel received a $500,000 grant in time for the holidays. State Rep. Linda Bolon announced that the Columbiana County Port Authority will receive the grant from the Ohio Department of Development’s Job Ready Sites program. 'While this is a phase of a lengthy process, it is especially encouraging in these tough economic times to see the state support a project that has the potential to stimulate our local economy and bring jobs to the area,' Bolon, of Columbiana, D-1st, said Tuesday in a press release," D.A. Wilkinson, Youngstown Vindicator.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Baard funding, Jason Vinkler, WYTV.
Dec 7, 2008: Coal to Fuel plant
Company set to start building in spring
WELLSVILLE -- "The foundering economy, falling oil prices and opposition from environmental groups won't derail a proposed $6 billion plant along the Ohio River that would turn coal into diesel and jet fuel, supporters say. Baard Energy of Vancouver, Wash., hopes to break ground in April or May near Wellsville in Columbiana County, company officials said yesterday. On Nov. 20, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency approved an air-pollution permit for the plant, the last permit the plant needed. In late October, another company canceled plans for a similar project in West Virginia because of trouble securing financing. Prices for crude oil also have dropped from more than $100 a barrel to $40 a barrel. Baard believes it can make money on coal-based fuel if prices stay above $35 a barrel," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch, December 6.
Dec 5, 2008: Baard holds press conference
EAST LIVERPOOL -- "Baardson laid out a rough plan for the future of the Ohio River Clean Fuels coal-to-liquids plant.... Baardson stated that that process will take place up to fall 2009. 'That's critical because a lot of that equipment takes a year to come in,' Baardson said. In 2010, Baardson stated that the company expects to have construction completed. In 2012, the plant will be operational, but will be undergoing final equipment testing.'By 2013 we will be fully operational,' Baardson said. The difference between 2012 and 2013, Dopuch said, is the final testing.'Only after we go through the prove-out of the plant will we become commercially operational,' he said,'" Jen Matsick, East Liverpool Review.
WELLSVILLE -- BAARD Project Update, Jennifer Jefcoat, WYTV.
WELLSVILLE -- Wellsville Chamber celebrates, Citizens of year are revealed, Erin Colella, Lisbon Morning Journal .
Dec 3, 2008: Village looks to prepare for Baard
WELLSVILLE -- "At Tuesday evening's council meeting, council member Randy Allmon brought up the increasing possibility that the Ohio River Clean Fuels plant may soon be coming to the village. Allmon suggested that it might be in Wellsville's best interests to look into hiring a firm for negotiations with Baard Energy to see what the village would get out of having the company in its midst. Council member Joe Soldano agreed, stating that 'before we know it, (the plant) might be there.' Village mayor Joe Surace stated that council should probably 'sit down with the Port Authority first.' Council member Tony Cataldo had a suggestion of his own, stating that 'the first thing we should do is look into what other communities are doing,'" Jen Matsick, East Liverpool Review.
Nov 24, 2008: Army Corps approves wetlands permit for Baard
WELLSVILLE -- "Baard Energy received two pieces of good news Thursday. Not only did the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issue a final air permit for the Ohio River Clean Fuels project, the company learned that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the only federal permit the 404 streams & wetlands permit - required for the project... 'With these permits, we can now complete the initial financing to finish the engineering and proceed with construction' Baardson continued. 'This is important to know since, for example, there were a lot of puzzling statements made recently related to an EPA ruling on an air permit in Utah. These statements were simply meant to cause uncertainty,'" Lisbon Morning Journal. Published November 22.
WELLSVILLE --Baard Energy officials comment on air permit approval, Michael McElwain, East Liverpool Review.
Nov 21, 2008: EPA approves last permit for Baard plant in Wellsville
WELLSVILLE -- "Columbiana County’s future became much brighter today when a key permit was approved for a plant to turn coal into liquid fuel. Tracy Drake, the chief executive officer of the Columbiana County Port Authority, said he was discussing another phase of the project when the word came in. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency approved an air quality permit for Baard Energy. It was the last of three major OEPA permits — that included wetlands and wastewater quality — needed to start the project," Youngstown Vindicator.
Nov 18, 2008: Baard awaiting final air permit
WELLSVILLE -- "State and local officials are looking at how a ruling Nov. 14 by the federal appeals board for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may impact plans for Baard Energy's proposed coal-to-liquid fuel plant in Wellsville... The Sierra Club went before the federal Environmental Appeals Board in May to request the air permit for Deseret Power Electric Cooperative's proposed waste coal-fired power plant in Utah be overturned because it failed to require any controls on carbon dioxide pollution. The Deseret Power plant in Bonanza, Utah, would have emitted 3.37 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, according to a press release from the Sierra Club. By comparison, representatives from the Sierra Club say as much as 26.59 million tons of carbon dioxide could be produced by the Ohio River Clean Fuels plant," Michael McElwain, East Liverpool Review.