Kasich and the coke plantWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Free Press stood beside Toledo’s media outlets in 2005 when Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, Oregon Mayor Marge Brown and several officials gathered for a symbolic ribbon-cutting announcement for a new FDS Coke Plant to be built on the Port of Toledo on Maumee Bay. The project would include a 135-megawatt green-powered electrical plant to supply energy generated from excess steam to Ohio municipalities to be delivered by American Municipal Power in Columbus.
It was an optimistic announcement, with talk of jobs, new technologies, jobs, a near-billion-dollar investment and jobs.
Yet here we are, half a decade later, and there has been little progress in constructing the plant.
That is not through any fault of FDS. The company has promoted new technology involving the control of mercury emissions in its cooperative dealings with the Environmental Protection Agency. Last March, the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission granted summary judgment to FDS, concluding that the FDS Coke Plant’s Permit to Install has not expired. That was thought to be the last hurdle in the long battle to get the plant built. There is plenty of support for the plant. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the City of Toledo support the construction; funds from Lucas County were used in the early stages of the process.
But ongoing litigation from the Toledo Sierra Club led by Oregon City Councilwoman Sandy Bihn and residents of the Village of Harbor View have kept the plant from moving forward.
“We think they should be investing in wind and solar components or other alternative energy that would be cleaner,” Bihn said.
The opponents have stalled this jobs-generating plant for too long, and now FDS officials are appealing to Ohio Gov. John Kasich to cut through the controversy and issue an executive order that would allow the plant to proceed.
When we endorsed candidate Kasich, we praised him for pledging to seek direct input from business owners and private enterprise, and for “offering a clear logic that trumps unfulfilled promises.”
There would be no better example, no better message to send, than for our new governor to review both sides of this case, and hopefully conclude as the Port Authority, city and EPA have: The FDS Coke Plant should proceed without further delay.
We respectfully urge Gov. Kasich to expedite this construction, before more time melts away and the greater opportunity is lost.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.