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 when the company withdrew its request.
The board had intended to vote on the lease Thursday. However, CEO Joe Lorenz gave a presentation, stating 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 shale 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, adding that markets in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Texas have seen a beneficial re-use of material off such sites. 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 the question is if they have the correct site.
Lorenz said further investigation found the Industrial Park did not fit their business model due to site costs. He said 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 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 the issue could possibly arise again, but through a private landowner rather than a public entity that would provide protections.
Commissioner Ginny Favede, present at the meeting, said 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."