The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 23, 2013

Authority’s plant proposal stalls after promising start

JOHNSTOWN — With work under way on $2.4 million of road and drainage improvements for Johns­town Redevelopment Authority’s proposed “frack water” treatment plant, some community leaders want to know more about the plant and its promise of new jobs.

Questions about the Aspen Fluid Logistics company and its Johnstown project will be on City Council members’ list when they have the long-awaited meeting with authority leaders, council member Marie Mock said recently.

The Aspen project was announced last April at a press conference in the former SS. Casimir & Emerich Church rectory at 501 Power St. Aspen CEO David Reifsnyder said the project could bring a $100 million investment to former Bethlehem Steel Corp. property off Iron Street and create hundreds of jobs.

Msgr. Raymond Balta, who chairs the redevelopment authority board, joined Reifsnyder for the announcement at the former rectory. The house was purchased for Aspen Johnstown LLC’s local office.

“They’re here now,” Balta said at the time. “It’s not something in the future.”

Reifsnyder said the first step would be to build a demonstration plant to treat 35,000 to 50,000 gallons a day.

That plant was to be up and running last summer, but construction never got off the ground.

There is still no sign identifying the Power Street office, which was unoccupied all week. A phone number listed on some Internet directories is not in service.

Reifsnyder and Balta are not answering many questions. Contacted by The Tribune-Democrat on Feb. 8, Reifsnyder said he was late for a flight “out of the country” and agreed to talk when he came back last Monday. But instead, Reifsnyder sent an email with an update.

“We are very excited to be able to leverage our technology in this undertaking as it will help to make gas exploration and production in the Marcellus Shale an environmentally friendly undertaking,” Reifsnyder wrote.

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