LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The city of Warren will provide the water to a second gas-powered electrical generating plant in Lordstown. Both the village council and Lordstown’s Board of Public Affairs Tuesday evening approved the deal, the debate of which consumed Lordstown for the past month. Some people who live in the village were opposed. But at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, those supporting it brought out their political power.
The bulk of the discussion on whether a new water line from Warren should be run to the proposed second electrical generating plant happened at the afternoon meeting of Lordstown’s Board of Public Affairs.
“Money seems to talk, and the people that we elect are not representing the rest of the people out here,” said resident Tom Dietz.
A company called Clean Energy Future-Trumbull wants to build the Trumbull Energy Center on Route 45 in Lordstown next to the current Lordstown Energy Center. It’s a billion-dollar project and to help support it political heavyweights from both parties also spoke.
“For 40 years, we’ve been like when’s the next thing? When’s the next thing? When can we build the infrastructure out to where we can dominate the industries of the future? And that is coming to a head right here in Lordstown, Ohio, tonight,” said Rep. Tim Ryan.
“Ohio right now is about to close to coal plants and our grid is going to be destroyed. We need to build not one or two of these power plants. We need to build 10 or 12 of these power plants,” said Senator Mike Rulli.
After village engineer Christopher Kogelnick recommended approving the Warren Water line, the Board of Public Affairs unanimously approved it too. Board member Michael Sullivan said one reason he voted yes was because every time they asked Clean Energy for changes the company said yes.
“So it would be pretty unethical at that point when they agreed to everything that you asked for to say no,” said Sullivan.
Clean Energy President Bill Siderewicz watched from the back and was pleased. But he stressed the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District — which provides Lordstown with its water — declined the opportunity and Lordstown officials knew of the effort to use Warren water from the start.
“So I was a little bit dismayed that there was public comment and about us doing a deal in the back room when in fact the village was at the table the entire time,” said Siderewicz.
After the Board of Public Affairs approved, the Lordstown Village council also approved of allowing Warren to run the line and provide the water to the new plant. The vote there was 5-1 with councilman Robert Bond the lone no vote.
Construction on the power plant will start next month. It’ll take three years. There will be from 400 to 1,000 workers on the site at a time. All of them will be local union workers.