The Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Management Authority voted 4-2 to move forward with Recovered Energy Resources, Inc. in a move that could lead to a gasification plant being constructed at the landfill. In doing so it also decided not to entertain an offer from Green Power Technologies, which also was interested in building a facility at the landfill in which it would produce a solid bio-mass product that some local companies could use in day-to-day operations.
Moving forward with RER for the gasification plant is not set in stone, however, as the full boards of commissioners from all three counties will have to vote to approve the deal in RER hopes construction can begin early in 2013. Green Power Chief Executive Officer James Hebert said he was surprised the landfill board didn't at least let the company make an offer and then select between it and RER. He said negotiations with potential business partners that would have agreed to purchase the plant's product were moving forward smoothly and there was more information that was about to be shared in regards to a plan and proposal.
"They made a decision based on not having all of the information and facts, but that is the commissioner's choice," Hebert said. "When we presented to them before we had some things we weren't able to divulge at the time and they were under an agreement with RER at the time, so we figured we would still have an opportunity to give all the information after the agreement expired."
Hebert said Green Power is still interested in the Alpena area and the project it was prepared to proposed may not be dead yet. He said the company may make a plea to the rest of the commissioners who do not sit on the landfill board to hold off on an agreement with RER and allow it a chance to present it plan.
"It remains to be seen what will happen at this point," Hebert said. "We might go to the boards and speak in open forum. We really feel we have a lot more to offer because of our nurturing relationships we have built in the area and the fact that we have several revenue streams to draw from. What happens if the city of Wyandotte decides to get out of its agreement? We don't have to worry about something like that. Our product would be mass marketed. All I can say is stay tuned."
Hebert said he is confused that the landfill board would elect not to see what Green Power could offer it and then compare it to RER's deal and see which would benefit the tax payers the most.
"As a chairman and CEO I don't know how they could have made such an important decision without having all of the information," he said. 'As a board member, representing a county, you would think they would have a responsibility to get all of the facts and they didn't. It might not be over yet though. We still hope to share what we have to offer."
Target Alpena Director Jim Klarich played a lead role in leading Green Power to Alpena in hopes of having a plant built and jobs created. He said it doesn't matter which one of the two companies build on the landfill, but is shocked Green Power wasn't afforded the chance to present an offer.
"I was surprised they weren't allowed to come and give a full blown presentation to the board," Klarich said. "From my office's position it doesn't make a difference. We are pro development and personally we don't care if it is RER or Green Power. However we would like something to happen," Klarich said. "People have told me the RER initiative is four-plus years old. Obviously it wasn't moving forward too quickly and I called Green Power and said 'get up here' and they did. Target will work with both of them, but I am surprised that with all of the communications we have had with Green Power already, including with the commissioners, they didn't get a chance to present."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.