Ohio Permits Clean Coal Plant to Impact Streams, Wetlands

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 31, 2008 (ENS) – The Ohio EPA has issued a water quality certification to Ohio River Clean Fuels, LLC for a proposed coal-to-liquid fuels plant in Columbiana and Jefferson counties.

The water quality certification to impact wetlands and streams is the first of three major state environmental permits Ohio River Clean Fuels needs to proceed with the project at Sixteen School Road south of Wellsville.

The water quality certification allows the company to impact up to 8,155 feet of streams, 1.69 acres of wetlands and .29 acre of ponds to construct a plant to transform coal and other biomass into liquid fuel using a coal gasification process.

Ohio River Clean Fuels will be using the Synthane process, which the company says, “is not designed to solve the problems of water treatment…”

To mitigate the impacts, Ohio River Clean Fuels will rehabilitate and protect Rocky Run and a portion of its tributaries totaling 13,723 feet, and create 2.54 acres of wetlands. All mitigation will be performed on-site.

On April 17, 2008, Ohio EPA held a public hearing at Wellsville High School to discuss the application and accept comments from the community. A response to comments submitted during the public comment period and a copy of the water quality certification is online at: www.epa.state.oh.us.

Anyone wanting to discharge dredged or fill material to waters of the State must first obtain a water quality certification from Ohio EPA and a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Ohio EPA’s review found the proposed project will comply with Ohio’s water quality standards.

If approved for construction, the facility would produce 52,000 barrels of fuel per day. The combustion gas and steam produced by the coal gasification process would be utilized at an onsite cogeneration plant that would produce enough electric power to operate the plant as well as an electrical surplus of 250 megawatts which would be exported to an adjacent power grid.

The project would have direct access to river barge, rail and truck transportation, as well as direct access to nearby petroleum pipelines for distribution of transportation fuels.

Ohio EPA continues work on two other Ohio River Clean Fuels permit applications. On May 27, 2008, the agency held a public hearing concerning a draft wastewater discharge permit and is reviewing comments submitted during the public comment period.

In addition, a permit application related to air emissions is under review and a draft air permit is expected to be issued within the next few weeks. A public hearing concerning the air permit has not yet been scheduled.

To view more information on Ohio River Clean Fuels’ proposed project and the pending wastewater discharge and air permits, click here [www.epa.state.oh.us].

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