The DEP announced recently that it has extended the public comment period on the draft permits from Oct. 11 to Nov. 1.
On Friday, assuming the project is approved by the Energy Facilities Siting Board, Footprint plans to file a new permit request with the state board. This is being done to override a court appeal filed by two Salem residents challenging an approval from the Salem Zoning Board of Appeals.
In a legal advertisement for the filing, the state board stated: “Footprint has indicated that it is unable to construct the generation facility” because of the appeal, which is likely to take months to be heard in court.
Footprint is on a tight timeline. It plans to shut down the coal and oil-fired Salem Harbor Station next May and open its new gas-fired plant in June 2016.
“The reason we filed (the new permit request) is because time is of the essence,” Silverstein said.
“Their big concern all along is whether or not they can make the deadline ...to start generating,” said Keenan. “The argument they have to make is that (consolidation) of the permit process is warranted to make that aggressive timeline.”
Footprint officials hope to have all their permits in hand by early next year in order to complete financing. Demolition of oil tanks on the property could begin next month.
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.