Ohio EPA: Toledo did not violate grant for casino locationWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | email@example.com
The City of Toledo is in no danger of facing repayment of any portion of the $3 million it was awarded through the Clean Ohio Fund used to remediate the site a future casino, according to a staff member of the Ohio EPA.
Legislation to accept more than $1 million from Penn National Gaming to reimburse Toledo for infrastructure costs was put on hold for two weeks after a July 20 City Council vote. Concerns regarding the Covenant Not to Sue (CNS) Toledo entered into with the Ohio EPA, a possible demand for repayment of the grant, and possible liability issues for Toledo were raised at the July 20 meeting by Councilman D. Michael Collins.
Vlad Cica, of the Ohio EPA Division of Emergency and Remedial Response, on July 21 confirmed to Toledo Free Press a Jan 4, 2010 e-mail in which Cica stated to Darla Peelle, public involvement coordinator for the Ohio EPA: “Based on my review of the information, Ohio EPA did not err in issuing the CNS, and no further action is needed by our Agency.”
Cica told Toledo Free Press, “The CNS was issued for a specific end use, Toledo did not violate the grant. When we issue a CNS it does not mean the property is clean; there may be stuff remaining but as long as they manage it properly, it’s fine. It’s designed specifically for an end use. They are going to run into contaminated soil and they will have to work with the EPA.”
While the CNS transfers from property owner to property owner, since the specific end use of the project has changed, Cica said Penn National Gaming may have to seek an amendment to the CNS. When asked if this could create any delays for the project, Cica said, “Not necessarily. It’s fairly routine. They (EPA) do a variety of different end uses, which can vary using engineering controls or other controls.”
Louie Bauer, former Mayor of Rossford, had raised concerns in communications with Mayor Mike Bell’s administration, according to documents obtained by Toledo Free Press. A July 20 e-mail to members of Toledo City Council included a copy of a July 16 e-mail written to Bell, where Bauer wrote in part, “I believe that the Clean Ohio grant was ‘closed out’ by the O.D.O.D (Ohio Department of Development) as the result of the misrepresentation by the city. If it is determined that the city of Toledo has not fully complied with the terms of the grant agreement, Toledo should rightfully be required to return the $3 million grant.”
Cica told Toledo Free Press that is not accurate.