New Castle News

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November 8, 2012

Township grants conditional use for electric plant

NEW CASTLE — A St. Louis company wanting to build a gas-powered electrical plant in North Beaver has passed a zoning hurdle.

Following a public hearing, the township supervisors granted a conditional use to LS Power to build a $750 million electricity-generating plant off Route 551, on the former American Cyanamid property.

The facility will be fueled by natural gas drawn from a Tennessee gas pipeline located about a mile from the site, and will use gas being extracted from the Marcellus and Utica shale layers that will be piped through the line.

About 50 residents attended Monday’s hearing, but none spoke in opposition to the proposed plant, according to township reports. A few citizens raised questions but no major concerns, officials said.

The supervisors did not attach any specific conditions to the approval, deeming the plans met the conditions outlined in the township zoning ordinance.

The plans already have been reviewed by the Lawrence County and township planning commissions.

Robert Colozza, LS senior vice president, explained to the county planning commission last month thatthe combined single-process plant will generate 900 megawatts of power.

It will occupy 55 acres of a 350-acre site and a substation will be built across the road on a five-acre tract that is part of 100 acres.

The plant is expected to become operational in 2016 or 2017 and generate about 500 temporary construction jobs and about 25 permanent full-time plant jobs.

The plant is expected to take over the electrical generation of the existing coal-fueled power plant in West Pittsburg, which generates only 300 megawatts of power and is expected to close within the next couple of years.

LS plans to operate the plant under the subsidiary of Hickory Run Energy, named for a trout-stocked stream that runs through the township. It plans to use New Castle Sanitaiton Authority effluent water as its primary water source for its cooling process, then drain it back into the Mahoning River.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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