By Mary Spicer
GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP —
An appeal filed by two Crawford County residents in November 2011 objecting to the Air Quality Plan Approval issued by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for a proposed tires-to-energy plant in Greenwood Township continues to work its way through the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board.
However, under Pennsylvania law, construction must begin within 18 months of obtaining the permit or the developer, in this case Crawford Renewable Energy LLC, has to start the process all over again, according to Gary Clark, community relations coordinator for DEP’s Northwest Regional Office in Meadville. By the time the permit was issued on Oct. 24, 2011, more than 14 months had passed since Aug. 13, 2010, the date CRE’s application was first submitted.
“We’ve already commenced construction,” CRE President Greg Rubino told the Tribune Wednesday. “The permit requirement was 100 percent complied with. We’ve done everything we’re supposed to do.”
Looking ahead, “I’m looking forward to getting it finished,” Rubino added. “It’s going to take a long time — it’s a big project.”
Since the Nov. 28, 2011, filing of the appeal by Robert Concilus and Leah Humes, who are now represented by attorney Sanford Kelson of Conneaut Lake, the hearing board’s online case information file lists a total of 53 various filings made and orders issued in connection with the case to date. Today, for example, marks the hearing board’s deadline for CRE to file a reply brief in response to a reply brief submitted by Concilus and Humes. That comes in response to CRE’s response to Concilus and Humes motion for partial summary judgment and response to the cross motion for partial summary judgment. The deadline had been extended from April 18 at CRE’s request; because Concilus and Humes did not oppose the extension, it was granted.
In early April 2010, Erie Renewable Energy LLC, the private corporation now known as CRE, announced plans to construct Meadville Power Station, a $350-million state-of-the-art facility capable of producing 90 megawatts of energy from 900 tons of waste tires per day. The proposed plant site, where construction has now begun, is on an 80-acre piece of Keystone Regional Industrial Park in Greenwood Township, which was developed by Economic Progress Alliance, the county’s lead economic development agency.
By May 2010, an opposition group, Crawford Area Residents for the Environment, had been formed with support from Keep Erie’s Environment Protected. An Erie-based organization, KEEP had been formed in opposition to plans announced in 2007 by ERE to redevelop the former home of International Paper into a similar facility.
With active support from CARE, Concilus and Humes challenged DEP’s approval of the plant’s air quality plan.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.