By Portia Williams
SOUTH SHORE, Ky. — SunCoke Energy held a public meeting Tuesday at McKell Middle School, where more than 100 residents and community members assembled to acquire information regarding the proposed coke plant for South Shore, Ky.
Dave Schwake, business development director for SunCoke Energy, said they are excited about the proposal for a coke plant in South Shore.
“We are excited. We are excited that we just recently received proposed permit he air permit, we‘ve been working with that for quite a while. We have gotten a lot of movement on the other permits, a lot of progress on the other permits. Obviously, coke-making is what we do, and we are always excited about the growth opportunities that we have,” Schwake said.
Representative Tanya Pullin of the Kentucky Legislature was present at the public informational meeting Tuesday. Mayor of South Shore, Cheryl Moore, and Judge Executive Robert Carpenter attended the meeting as well.
According to Schwake, the potential site for the South Shore plant is a 248-acres situated along the Ohio River between Johnson Lane and KY. 2538. The new plant will pay out $7 million annually in salaries, creating 100 full-time jobs, and 15 to 20 part-time jobs.
Securing environmental permits as well as getting their customer base established are two major components that SunCoke Energy is still working on.
According to Schwake, the new facility would have 100 ovens, and include coal and coke-handling facilities, a coke over battery, a quenching tower, coke storage, as well as administrative and support buildings and air pollution control equipment. He said more than 50 percent of the coal used at the plant will come from within the state.
As compared to the Haverhill facility, Schwake said he new South Shore facility would be a cleaner site, as newer practice technology to capture heat and air pollutants.
Members of the audience were granted the opportunity to ask questions, and make comments. Mark Johnson, business manager for the Tri-State Building and Construction Trades, shared comments about SunCoke Energy.
“This has been one of the best customers that have come to the Tri-state area. They do what they say they are going to do, and are very community-oriented in working our people. I just can’t say enough good things about them. They have gone beyond the call of what they were really required to do,” Johnson said.
Pullin said there is still much work to do before the new plant project is finalized.
“I have been working on this for seven years, but I don’t want to raise expectations unrealistically, but without a certainty we are closer than we have ever been to this plant becoming a reality,” Pullin said. “As long as it can be done so that it is clean for our environment, we want these industrial jobs, and they boost that it would be for our economy.”
She said she is commends SunCoke Energy for their willingness to host the public informational session.
“I want to compliment SunCoke, because they were not required by law to have this public meeting, but it is something that they wanted to do above and beyond, and I thought that it was excellence that they would do that, and take the time and effort to communicate with the community like this,” Pullin said. “I also want to thank the McKell Middle School for letting us have it there.”
Schwake said he is optimistic that all of the necessary permits will be secured by the end of 2014.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-370-0712 or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.