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DEP to host public hearing on Lawrence County's Hickory Run Energy Station project

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 12:08 a.m.

A Lawrence County power plant project that's headed for approval has its next public hearing on Wednesday at the North Beaver Volunteer Fire Department.

The $750 million Hickory Run Energy Station received its local permits this year and must get permits from state environmental regulators. The Department of Environmental Protection is hosting the hearing starting at 6 p.m.

The DEP will limit the amount of solid pollution, known as total dissolved solids, that the gas-fueled plant can leave in wastewater it dumps in the Beaver River. Hickory Run is getting its cooling water from a sanitation plant that dumps processed water into the Beaver. That means it won't increase the river's amount of dissolved solids, but the plants could dump processed water at the same time, department spokesman Kevin Sunday said.

“As long as it's treated, we have no problem with it,” said James A. Riggio, general manager at the Beaver Falls Municipal Authority, which has a drinking water intake downstream. Riggio said neither the DEP nor the proposed plant's owner, New Jersey-based LS Power, told him of the project upstream.

Sunday declined to give details. The project manager at LS Power did not return requests for comment.

Local government leaders support the project, Lawrence County officials said. They're increasingly confident the 900-megawatt plant will get built, despite at least six proposed projects aimed at using inexpensive natural gas to replace coal-fired power plants closing around Western Pennsylvania.

Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or tpuko@tribweb.com.

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