FDS Coke Plant
Coking facilities, or "coke plants," process coal by destructive distillation. This process drives off propane, benzene, sulphur gases, and much of the water in the coal. This "coked" coal is then used for making steel, or for power generation.
A coke plant is proposed to be built on the borders of Toledo and Oregon, Ohio. Concerned with the environmental and economic health of the Western Lake Erie Basin, citizens have been fighting the construction of this facility since 2004.
For a history of the FDS Coke Plant compiled by Ohio Citizen Action, please click here. Blade Article published Oregon, Ohio, Retired Assistant Fire Chief Flanagan's opinion on the proposed FDS coking facility in print and online. You can read it online here. (It is the second letter down.)
In 2003, Uhde ThyssenKrupp, the designers of the proposed facility, completed a coke plant in Schwlegern, Germany, which has less overall emissions than the proposed coke plant in Toledo/Oregon. Pictures of this plant on right.
The identity of the owner of the proposed plant has not been revealed to the public.
What is known is that FDS Coke Plant, L.L.C. is not an Ohio company, as it has filed with the Ohio Secretary of State as a Foreign Limited Liability Company.
The registration of June 2, 2005, by "FDS Coke Holdings, L.L.C.," to be known in Ohio as "U.S. Coking Group, L.L.C," can be viewed here. The registration of May 2, 2006, by "FDS Coke Plant, L.L.C.," to be known in Ohio as "FDS Coke Plant, L.L.C.," can be viewed here.
"FDS Coke Holdings, L.L.C." and "FDS Coke Plant, L.L.C." are each registered as a Domestic Limited Liability Company in the State of Delaware.
You can also read about this mystery and confusion in two The Blade articles from June, 2007, found here and here. A website has been created for the "FDS Project" of Toledo/Oregon, Ohio. Please note that Tom Kovacik, former president of Envirosafe, is listed as working on this coke plant. You can view this under "Regulatory and Local Permitting" here. Please also note that they label the company as a "limited liability corporation" and not a "Foreign Limited Liability Company." You can view this here. The Board of Directors of the Lucas County Port Authority approved on December 20, 2007, a resolution on the FDS Coke Plant to pay back a Lucas County Commissioners loan of $500,000. You can read this here.
Lucas County loaned $500,000 to the port on January 29, 2004. The purpose of the loan, which was supposed to be paid back January 1, 2005, was for legal and consulting fees and site development.
Port records show that the money was paid to "US Coking Group," a company which allegedly no longer exists.
The checks issued by the port are as follows:
January 29, 2004, for $304,672.25 to 7000 Fenkell Ave., Detroit, a food storage warehouse
March 2, 2004, for $82,196.14 to no address
April 19, 2004, for $23,627.76 to a Olympia Fields, Illinois post office box
May 14, 2004, for $34,728.87 to the Illinois post office box
It is not know if the remaining $54,814.98 was paid out. The port would not release copies of the invoices for the checks that were issued.
If built, the plant will release per year 2.1 billion pounds of unregulated Carbon Dioxide (CO2), the most conspicuous greenhouse gas. This is in addition to its Ohio EPA-permitted seven million pounds of pollution, which includes an estimated fifty-one pounds of emitted mercury.
The trade-off is it would create an estimated 150 jobs, a small number compared to the environmental havoc it would wreak.
The cities of Toledo and Oregon, Ohio, have had their share of experience with the Coke Plant via the old Interlake Coke Plant/Toledo Coke Plant on Front Street. A comparison of the emissions from this demolished plant and the OEPA 2004, 2005, and 2007 draft permits is available here. Toledo is right on the edge of being required to reduce existing industries' particulate emissions before a new or expanding operation can locate in the Toledo area. Click here for the City of Toledo's "Air Resources Section."
The coke plant will emit more fine particulates than BP or the Bayshore Power Plant. The courser particulates, PM10, reach a threshold of over 50% -- actually 71% in the area near the coke plant, which exceeds the so called Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD).
You can find a comparison among FDS, BP, and Bayshore here.
OEPA states that "these limited modeled impacts are not expected to limit new source growth to facilities other than FDS Coke."
There is no mention on the impacts on the health of nearby residents and workers, nor is there any mention on the impacts on the students at Wynn School in Oregon.
For an Ohio EPA news release on the 2007 Ohio EPA permit, click here. Please click here for an Ohio EPA Draft Air Permit Facts Sheet on the proposed plant.
The 2007 Ohio EPA draft permit for the FDS Coke Plant yields to the discretion of the Ohio EPA Director for a mercury increase if FDS cannot meet the 51 pound limit. The permit sets no limits on how much more mercury emissions the director is able to allow.
Together, Harbor View and North Oregon are designated as an Environmental Justice Area. The hundreds of homes located there are in the shadow of the First Energy Bayshore Power Plant on the east, the BP Refinery on the south, and now the proposed FDS Coke Plant less than a mile on the west. If this much pollution is to be added to that area, then the coke plant should give the residents the option to buy their homes.
Furthermore, BP has announced a major expansion to its Oregon, Ohio, refinery. Exact additional emissions are unknown at this point, but the question is, will the FDS Coke emissions impact the BP emissions for the expansion?
The FDS Coke site and the BP refinery are not even a mile apart.
2007 Draft Permit Hearing
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing comments submitted for the record at the FDS Coke Plant public hearing on December 6, 2007, at Clay High School in Oregon, Ohio, as well as written comments submitted until December 13, 2007.
After a thirty minute information talk by Michael Hopkins of the Ohio EPA, and a thirty minute Q&A session, hours of testimonies were heard for the record by opponents and proponents of the proposed facility.
Additional written comments were directed to the Toledo Division of Environmental Services, the department which "ensures environmentally safe air and water for the Toledo Metropolitan Area." You can learn more about this department here. You can read The Blade public hearing article here.
Please contact your elected officials today and ask them, Who owns the proposed plant? Who will be responsible if there is a Problem Emissions Event?