City officials offer praise for new coke
Kelly J. Kaczala
- The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's approval last
week of a permit for U.S. Coking Group LLC to build a proposed coke plant here touched off a
round of praise for the project in council chambers on
been a very exciting day," Mayor Marge Brown said to council.
"Industry is coming to northwest Ohio. We have a lot to overcome
yet. We have a lot of bad feelings. And I think we can work with
them. I've asked Kurt Erichsen, of TMACOG, to put in an air
monitoring machine on Bay Shore Road by the Toledo Edison plant. A
lot feel out there we no longer have anything to do with them, and
that's wrong. We do care about them as much as anyone in the
amount of mercury the plant can emit was greatly reduced by the Ohio
EPA as part of the permit, something Brown said she and
Administrator Ken Filipiak had been working
mercury issue came down to less than 1.5 ounces per day. So that was
kind of a nice boost for our records. It's something Ken and I,
along with the Port Authority, have been working on - to get the
Ohio EPA to reduce emissions. We're kind of excited about
President Mike Sheehy said he's confident the city will overcome
opposition to the coke plant.
some bad feelings within a certain segment of the community. But I
think those bad feelings are in large part borne of ignorance and
misinformation. We have some education to do in the
said a recent trip by city officials to East Chicago, Indiana, where
a similar plant operates, was encouraging.
confirms some of the positive feelings we had about the job we
believe U.S. Coking will be able to do in Oregon," he said. "What we
found most interesting was the level of technology involved, how
well it demonstrated to us how it worked, specifically the pollution
control equipment. It's one thing to talk about the efficiency of
that type of equipment. It's another thing to actually see that at
work and see just what a clean operation it is. In addition to that,
we are all very pleased at the lack of nuisance levels that was
suggested could potentially be problems, and the suggestion we would
have to endure rotten egg smell, clouds of colored smoke, all kinds
of odors. We found none of that. The level of expertise of the
technicians and the employees in general was pretty impressive. We
were very impressed with the facility, we came away with renewed
confidence and our support for it. I think we're very happy to see
the draft permit was finalized."
who also went to East Chicago, said "the air was clear, there was no
smell. We saw every operation the coking operation undertook...it's
a very tight, well run operation."
said the plant will not only offer jobs to the community, but
spin-off businesses as well.
years from now, we'll look back and I think we'll all be proud we
were part of this process," he said.
Director Paul Goldberg praised Brown for her commitment to keep an
eye on the new coke plant to ensure it abides by the
was very heartened to hear the mayor say that when the coking
facility comes here, `we're going to hold their feet to the fire.'
The mayor said that the city will make every effort to ensure that
that facility meets every environmental regulation imposed on it by
the Ohio and U.S. EPA. And if they don't, they will find, as others
in the city have found, the city can be quite dedicated and
committed to ensuring those regulations are followed. I think you
need to go no further than Envirosafe and ask those folks if they
think we're dedicated to the environment."
Matt Szollosi said the Ohio EPA's approval is "a huge victory, not
only for Oregon, but Lucas County, the Port Authority, state of
Ohio, the building trades - with 1,000 construction jobs over the
next two years building the facility, and 165 permanent
coke plant, he added, will assist in the resurgence of the steel
industry in the country.
just a tremendous victory."
visit to the coking plant in East Chicago, said Szollosi, "did a lot
to allay some people's reservations about the mystery behind this
was a textbook case of a very successful endeavor. I agree that for
years to come we're going to look back and say this was something
Sharon Graffeo Rudess noted that tax revenue from the coke plant
will relieve some of the tax burden on the
think we all have a win-win situation with this."
James Seaman agreed.
schools are the big winners. We're talking about $1 million per year
[for the district] for 10 years in a row. We're talking about a $350
million project, perhaps $200,000 in additional water revenue to
help pay off our expensive water treatment plant, and over 160 jobs.
That will help us maintain our high standard of city