Power Plant — It's Time to 'Walk the Walk'

The time for talking is soon to end and results will be expected.


Long before any of us were here, decisions were made concerning the waterfront. 

Business, profit and employment were the impetus. Many generations of Salemites have lived with the results of those decisions. 

More than 175 years later the main legacy of those who built the waterfront industries has been , the mess that is the North River, and the smokestacks of the power plant.

It would seem that the third leg of that industrial triad is soon to be a thing of the past.

There are few in Salem who do not have an opinion on what has transpired over the last few years in regards to the 60-acre site on Fort Avenue. No one loves it. Many love the jobs and tax revenue that it has generated. Lots of folks truly hate it. Some who hate it do so sincerely. Others have more selfish reasons for their hate.

My feelings put me into both the love and hate camps. 

Having grown up seeing those smokestacks in the distance and using them as a landmark they do provide a certain visual comfort. Being smart enough to understand the environmental and health concerns that come with them I also have learned to detest them.

John Keenan and other elected officials have worked hard to protect our interests as turns the property over to . Keenan overreached in his attempt to guarantee some revenue for Footprint through long term energy contracts, but you can't blame a guy for trying. In the end his energy bill passed.

It would seem that the talking part is just about over.

Footprint Power as a new entity in our lives needs to make themselves visible and vocal in the community. Show us who you are and what you are about. Give us a face to associate with the corporate logo. 

John Keenan, Mayor Driscoll, and the city councilors must continue to advocate to ensure that . When 2017 rolls around the people will be expecting results.

Those of you who envisioned theme parks with roller coasters, casinos, ball fields and other such things are certainly disappointed — dreamers often are. All of those things, with the exception of a casino would be wonderful additions, but reality is more often than not the slayer of dreams. 

We have been promised a demolition and cleanup. State aid has also been pledged to make up for lost tax revenue until 2019. Footprint plans to build a natural gas plant.


I am looking forward to seeing all parties actually walk the walk.

Antoine M. Boisvert August 06, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Amen, brother.
Bill August 06, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I will be mighty happy the day those stacks come down. A blight on the shore line for dozens of miles in every direction.
Thomas Stirling August 06, 2012 at 02:10 PM
When is it scheduled to be demolished is there a firm date? even narrowed down to a year, I heard 2014 before. I will be glad to see this go, I have had issues with asthma since moving to Salem and ill be interested to see if they clear up when this is completely gone.
chester suchecki August 06, 2012 at 02:21 PM
thomas i dont think the power plant is the cause of your asthma issues try auto emmisions. prevailing winds blow west to east.
William Legault August 06, 2012 at 02:40 PM
2017 is the target year Thomas. We will see how that works out. This may be a case of easier said than done.
smith wesson August 06, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Boaters use those stacks every day to help them come and go. I will miss them being there but will not miss them being used.
Stan Sokol August 07, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Bill, The City is getting hosed. Footprint is a law firm that unabashedly states on its website that it helps owners of aging power plants "mitigate their environmental clean up liabilities." Footprint is an LLC, not a publicly traded company. The notion that it can build a seberal hundred dollar gas generated power plant on the site is a joke. No LLC can raise the capital to build what it says it's planning. Footprint will screw Salem at the first time it doesn't succeed getting Dominion's clean up liability mitigated. If it's genuine, it will - without delay - publish a timetable for cleaning up the site. Don't hold your breath waiting for that. Footprint cares about Salem in the same way a wolf cares for the chickens in the hen house. We're gonna get f-ed.
William Legault August 07, 2012 at 11:53 PM
This is an opinion shared by more than a few out there Stan. We have seen and referenced their web site multiple times, As I said. let's see them "walk the walk".
redrhino August 08, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I hope this isnt true.... Ehrlich also noted Footprint has applied to burn both natural gas and oil at the new plant, meaning dirtier oil could be used if natural gas price spike. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/06/29/nj_company_buys_60_year_old_salem_power_plant/
windpower August 08, 2012 at 11:28 AM
As I stated before . Three lawyers from N.J. come to Salem .... First line of a lawyer joke finnish it And WHAT is with that foolish logo ?
Mark Steele August 08, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Footprint Power was formed by power industry executives to help owners identify the opportunities presented by the shuttered and challenged facilities in their portfolios. We understand the unique needs of generation owners and are experienced in navigating the regulatory and legal environment in which owners and their facilities operate. We are skilled in creating structures to cabinet risk and unleash value. We have deep, constructive relationships with regulators, environmental advocacy groups, governmental authorities and other stakeholders that we can use to break through stalemated situations and create new levels of cooperation. We have teamed with real estate developers, brownfield experts, brokers, architects, development engineers, financiers and others to leverage our capacities and maximize value for our clients and counterparties. "Copied from FOOTPRINT's website." OUCH.. Salem beware.. Don't maximize your client's value on our land..
chester suchecki August 08, 2012 at 01:06 PM
whoever bids on building on the cleaned up property of the power plant will have to have very deeeeeeeeeep pockets. dont think for a minute that those lawyers from jersey dont already have a plan. they buy an old junk power plant that should have gone natural gas when the sesd offered it or when the pipeline came thru the harbor. but no some smart shell company lawyers bought the place and guess what? we dont have a clue as to what they are going to do other than tear down the old plant and build a natural gas fueled one with a diesel backup .how clean is that? now come the good part. who's got enough money to build on the surplus land? what goes in there? cruise ships,condos,more stupid gift shops and repetitive restaurants. perhaps a casino or how about a historic working shipyard. the possibilities are endless . just a quick note mrs mayor and city council, this is your chance to use the barraks building for a salem life center because hell with all this prime power plant property i would want that eyesore torn down, here is your chance to put a feather in your hat. you people in city hall do what you want you always seem to anyway.
windpower August 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Mark ; How about using your copy above as a hand out when Footprint does the dog and pony show for us ? I just love to double speak in it . Just what is cabinet risk ,or deep constructive relationships ?
Mark Steele August 08, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Windpower; I copied it from FOOTPRINT's website so by all means, shine a light on their own words..
Americus Bell August 08, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I would never assume than an LLC can’t get mega-financing. That’s why they call it “venture” cap… I’d love to know what they paid for it. We have the obvious negatives on that site – but remember, it’s 60 acres of WATERFRONT. Without looking it up again - from what I recall, we have a “working” seaport designation with the state, and it requires that we remain, well, working. That narrows down uses, and btw, residential isn’t one of them, I believe. I’m also going to go out on a limb here and assume you don’t fool with the feds/FERC. If you say, we’re doing this, that’s what you better be doing. I’m sometimes the negative nattering nabob, but I’m just glad *something*, that appears to be a positive, is going forward on this site. Yes, I’ll take a wait and see; but here’s hoping.
Richard August 09, 2012 at 03:52 AM
You're right, you definitely don't want to mess with the Fed's, but the FERC filing seems to only deal with the current plant operation, so it probably doesn't lock them into anything else. If I'm doing the math right, I think Dominion may have actually paid Footprint to acquire the plant. In their second quarter earnings last week Dominion took a $27 million write down on Salem Harbor for the Footprint acquisition (for "estimated fair value less cost to sell"). Back in Q4 2010, Dominion had already written down the estimated fair value of Salem Harbor to basically zero, so that just leaves "cost to sell". There are some other sale costs, but I suspect some of that $27 million went to Footprint. Hopefully, it may give them enough for some of the remediation at least. A new plant would be close to a billion dollars though - unfortunately, I don't think that's really going to happen. Even Dominion thought that the time to build a new plant would be too excessive for the investment, and they're a 30 billion dollar company with expertise and 15,000 employees. Footprint is just two guys in Jersey.


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