Bethlehem Steel left 25 years ago, but a new, mysterious energy company is brining a glimmer of hope to Lackawanna, New York. The proposed plant, to be built on Bethlehem's brownfields, would convert petroleum coke into synthetic gas.
"Lackawanna Clean Energy says it will spend $1.5 billion to clean up the plant's dormant coke oven facility and then build its facility, creating 1,500 construction jobs and at least 150 permanent positions at the site.
"One of the objectives of this company is to take brownfields and convert them into useful sites again," said Ralph D. Miranda, a local project manager for Lackawanna Clean Energy.
If it happens, it would provide a major boost for the area economy.
But there is reason for skepticism. Little is known about Lackawanna Clean Energy, a company set up to manage this visionary project.
The company has hired a public relations firm, but its official Web site is blank.
The company says it has the financing in place to cover the significant capital investment required for its plans, but company officials would not reveal the sources of this support.
And Lackawanna Clean Energy has not yet received the environmental approvals needed for the plant, which would produce carbon dioxide emissions.