Gas processing plant officially dedicated in Springfield Townshi - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Gas processing plant officially dedicated in Springfield Township

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SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio - It's a milestone in the Shale Boom as the Hickory Bend Cryogenic Processing Plant is officially dedicated and just weeks away from going on-line in Springfield Township.

The construction of the $375-million dollar facility has already put more than 500 local people to work.

The plant is a major investment in the Valley and proof that the Utica Shale Boom is moving full steam ahead.

The plant is a joint venture by NiSource Midstream Services, Pennant Midstream and affiliates of Hilcorp Energy.

It's a multi-million dollar investment that is already employing hundreds of local workers; some in skilled trades to construct the plant that is currently about 80-percent complete.

"The Utica Shale is just in the formative stages. It's now lifting off. This plant is the first; we hope two additional plants will be on this site," said Robert Skaggs, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of NiSource.

"We have over 500 people working on constructing the facility and when it goes into operation the facility will operate with a staff of about two dozen," said Chad Zamarin, Chief Operating Officer NiSource.

The gas processing plant, with 25,000 miles of pipelines crisscrossing Ohio and Pennsylvania, will serve over $2-million customers in the Buckeye state.

Springfield Township Trustee Robert Orr played a major role in securing the project and says it a facility focused on safety that will mean a big boost to the local economy. "All these things translate into more disposable income for households, less foreclosures, taxes paid, families that can plan and dream and purchase goods and services as well," Orr said.

Ohio's Governor John Kasich traveled to New Springfield saying energy is Ohio and the nation's future and it's the plan of Jobs Ohio to make sure our young people are prepared for what lies ahead.

"Since I've been in, we've got about almost 1,700 new jobs located here.  We're seeing massive investment, and that's all good. But we have a long, long way to go," Kasich said.

The leadership of NiSource Midstream says this plant represents the promise of what's possible when it comes to economic opportunities and jobs here in the Valley with an on-going investment that could total over $1-billion dollars.

But even as Governor Kasich took the stage to applauding the efforts in New Springfield, there were protesters who voiced their disapproval.

"What i think most of us worry about is the externalities that are going to be placed on those communities.  So they'll (the companies) get the money and the communities will reap the health impact," said Clay Graham, a protester.

But NiSource says no chemical processing takes place at the plant and they're focused on being a good neighbor.

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