LORDSTOWN — The Village Council and Public Affairs Board in separate meetings on Tuesday gave their approval to enter into a water service agreement with Warren for Clean Energy Future LLC, keeping the Trumbull Energy Center project alive.
By a vote of 3 to 0, the Public Affairs Council at its afternoon meeting recommended a village council contract with Warren for the water service, and two hours later the village council did so, passing it 5 to 1 as an emergency measure.
Bill Siderewicz, president of Massachusetts-based Clean Energy Future-Trumbull LLC, attended both meetings, both of which were attended by more than 50 people.
“The village has been at the table the whole time this has been discussed,” Siderewicz said. “We went to the MVSD over a year and a half ago to ask them if they wanted to supply water to our project, and we were told that they did not have enough capacity.
“We couldn’t let the project die, so we went knocking on Warren’s door to provide water,” Siderewicz said.
The billion dollar project nearly upped the ante and left the MVSD water issue against Warren. Mayor Arno Hill and Public Affairs Council member Michael Sullivan each said MVSD officials informed them they did not want the project stopped and backed off so the project could go ahead.
Not everyone present was satisfied. Resident Theresa Biggs said locals are not against the TEC but want to keep Warren’s water out of the village.
“Why choose Warren over Niles? It makes me very suspicious,” she said.
Warren’s proposed 24-inch-diameter line would supply millions of gallons to the plant per day for 100% of the plant’s needs, in addition to having additional capacity for the village, according to Clean Energy Future.
Siderewicz said groundbreaking is scheduled for this summer, with the plant ready for operation by summer 2025.
Officials said the project would bring $85 million in taxes and fees to the village and $660,000 a year to the BPA.
The decisions come after months of debate on the project, as the plans for this second power plant were made between the Public Affairs Council and the entities that would need to supply water to the new plant.
Heads of state and local union representatives expressed their views on the plant on Tuesday, agreeing that it would bring business to the valley and create more opportunities for the region.
Resident Mark McGrail told council the BPA’s decision was a mistake, noting the council represents the citizens of the village and not developers and corporations.
“You were presented with only one option, which is not the best for the people of the village. Get another proposal and vote for the people you represent,” McGrail said.
He said the plant can exist with MVSD water.
He said the action taken by the council and the BPA ‘swept the people of Lordstown under the table’ and they were told to ‘bite the bullet for the valley’.
Councilor Lamar Liming said he had received calls from residents about eminent domain and a possible takeover of village land by TEC or Warren for the construction of the Warren water main. Attorney Paul Dutton said TEC is not a public government agency and would have no eminent domain capacity, and Warren would only have eminent domain within its own municipal jurisdiction.
“Neither has the power to take land in the village,” he said.
Dutton told the BPA before his vote that the case had gone on long enough and that it was the council’s duty to vote one way or another on the issues.
Councilor Robert Bond, who voted ‘no’, said he had nothing against TEC coming to the village but had concerns about Warren’s contract which could run pipes water in undeveloped areas of the village.
Village engineer Chris Kogelnik said the project forced officials to think and react quickly. He said discussions over the plant’s water source had been going on for six months.
“As your village engineer, I recommend pursuing the proposed Warren Water Agreements,” he said.
Resident William Catlin said the TEC has benefited schools with funds that have helped demolish an old building and build a new athletics track complex. He said Siderewicz helped schools financially with projects, preventing them from turning to voters for levies.
The waterline project was submitted at the end of June by the Régie des affaires publiques.
Public Affairs Council chairman Kevin Campbell said council members wanted to make sure everything was in place.
Siderewicz said a permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will allow the Trumbull Energy Center to bypass Lordstown’s sewage system and discharge sewage into Mud Creek.
That permit, Siderewicz said, is based on Warren’s water chemistry, not MVSD’s water, and his engineers told him a new permit would take a few months to restart.