By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Research will continue on a waste-to-energy plant in Del Norte County despite the lack of an endorsement yesterday from the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority.
Executives from Naanovo, a design and development firm studying the feasibility of the concept in the community, did not receive approval from the board but officials said they did not want to impede the research.
"We like the response that we got," said Naanovo Vice President Richard Brant. "We got direction from the commissioners to work with their staff and we look forward to it. We think this is going to work out."
A motion from Boardmember Herb Kolodner to "concur that the project is potentially feasible" died for lack of a second.
"I'm cautious," said Boardmember Martha McClure. "I like the idea of a clean industry (but) if it's not going to be a public facility, you don't need our head-nod at all."
"I personally don't want to discourage further investigation into this business here," said Chairman Jack Reese. "I think what I am hearing here (from the board) is you shouldn't be discouraged at all." Most of the commissioners nodded in agreement.
McClure then suggested the firm seek information from Director Kevin Hendrick and Analyst/Planner Tedd Ward which is more accurate than what the company is currently using.
"The red flag I am seeing is from the numbers that are being tossed about," McClure said. "I think we need staff to work with Naanovo and answer all their questions." McClure made this suggestion after Hendrick corrected several numbers Naanovo had to assess the amount of waste available and the costs in shipping waste out of the county.
Naanovo President J. Thomas Morrow, who said the firm's research was in a ¬Ďvery preliminary stage,' acknowledged questions received from Ward and Hendrick were eye-opening.
"Tedd Ward asked some questions that made us realize there is more work to do. There is more due diligence we need to look at with California law with solid waste issues," Morrow said.
"We're just looking for an open-minded authority to allow us to continue with this work and not prejudge us ... I don't know if we're looking for approval, but rather a lack of you telling us to just go away," Morrow said.
Brant said yesterday the executives will return in the near future with company experts to help with the analysis.
The waste-to-energy plant, which Naanovo designs, would convert county trash to electricity. This has been promoted as a alternate solution to trucking the waste to Oregon after the county landfill closes.
The company said it needs about 180 tons per day of refuse to burn for an efficient plant. The amount of waste Del Norte produces has been debated recently, but by all figures it falls far short of 180 tons.
Kolodner said neighboring communities have shown an interest in making up the difference but he hasn't named those communities yet.