ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The dispute regarding EnerGreen 360's plan to begin operations at the East Ohio Regional Industrial Park in Barnesville was resolved during Thursday's meeting of the Port Authority. The board had intended to vote on the lease, but EnerGreen instead opted to withdraw the lease request.
CEO Joe Lorenz gave a presentation, stating that the plan called for the use of recycled earthen materials from the construction of oil and gas wells at the Industrial Park.
He said EnerGreen's focus is to develop future sites that utilizes current technologies to chemically and geotechically stabilize the earthen materials for use as engineered fill at oil and gas drilling sites and to create a responsible solution to assist with development-ready sites for companies looking to bring new jobs to the Utica Region. He said the process reduces the amount of inorganic material leaving a site and going to surrounding landfills.
"Our intention is to use those cutting for beneficial re-use," he said, noting that markets in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Texas have seen a beneficial re-use of material off such sites.
He added that more than two million tons of earthen material go into landfills in a two-year period of time, taking up valuable landfill space.
"If we can create a safe and environmentally sound solution, what would we do with that material?" he said. "Could we create jobs with this vertically-challenged community?"
Lorenz pointed out the need for five flat acres.
"The intention has always been to create an environment where we can safely put this material and solve the problem," he said.
He said there is technology available through Roadbond EN1 Soil Stabilizer that would allow the coating of earthen material to create clean, hard fill with little environmental impact and no leeching and runoff.
He said the question is if they have the correct site. Lorenz said that further investigation found the Industrial Park did not fit their current business model due to site costs. He noted the site will require an investment of about 2.5 million yards of material to fully develop the facility and the site will not support the level of cutting and source material for the process.
Lorenz said regulatory approval will be sought once an evaluation is complete and a plan in place.
"We continue to look for sites that fit what we're looking for," he said. "How can we, together, create an opportunity for a local community to have five flat acres to create jobs for the future? That's really what we're about. Trying to create those opportunities for a community that is interested."
He added that EnerGreen will typically go through a private entity.
Board President Martin Gould gave the opinion that the project is a good one, and though it will not happen, the issue remains.
"That does not mean that this is going away. There are billions and billions of dollars invested in this industry, and the industry is not going away. Likewise, you have legitimate concerns, and I'm sure the residents of Barnesville are not going away, but as a society, we're going to have to address these issues at some time," he said, adding that the board will look into infrastructure and developing a master plan as to what we will and will not be allowed in the Industrial Park. "We have heard you very loud and clear."
He added that the issue could possibly arise again, but through a private landowner rather than a public entity that would provide protections.
Board Member William Knox thanked members of the community who brought information to the board regarding ODNR permits.
Jill Hunkler of the Concerned Citizens of Barnesville said her group would continue to oppose EnerGreen's efforts locally and statewide. She said there is evidence that the cuttings have radioactive properties and noted the lack of regulation in the state. The group had also objected to the apparent secrecy in EnerGreen's operations.
Commissioner Ginny Favede, present at the meeting, gave the opinion that the county cannot neglect issues of safety. She said the Soil and Water Department will convene with the Concerned Citizens of Barnesville to discuss the issues.
"Whether it's at the industrial park or on private land, the concern is that it contaminates our water sources," she said. "We have to make sure we ensure the safety of the entire county and not just one area."
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