YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Members of city council met to discuss the proposed SOBE Energy Solutions plant in Youngstown, one that several councilmembers have been outspoken against as they plan to take legal actions.
SOBE wants final approval from the EPA to incinerate tire chips to generate natural gas to provide heat for downtown buildings.
The Committee on Climate Change, Environment and Sustainable Technology voted to send a resolution to city council stating that they oppose SOBE operating in Youngstown.
“A resolution is just generally is a pronouncement to the community and to all interested parties that we’re officially against something as a city,” said law director Jeff Limbian.
Sixth ward city Councilwoman Anita Davis said she hopes the resolution will send a message to the Ohio EPA.
“We’re hoping it will have an influence with the state EPA so they will deny the permit altogether for SOBE to have their facility there,” Davis said.
Zoning is another possible avenue the city is considering to halt SOBE’s operations. Currently, the spot where the plant sits on North Avenue is zoned as a mixed-use community, not light industrial. But according to Youngstown’s law director, they are in an uncertain legal limbo.
“To make sure that we understand whether or not it’s currently zoned to allow for a change of process there — the fueling process — and whether or not this could even occur in a mixed-use community,” Limbian said. “We don’t have the specific answer for that yet, but that’s what we’re working to make sure we understand.”
The committee plans to have their resolution ready in time to be presented to city council at a September meeting.