Commissioners give emphatic 'no' to Utah firm
BLACKFOOT – Bingham County Commissioners rejected the latest proposal from MSW Green Energy to build a waste-to-energy plant at the Bingham County Transfer Station.
Officials from MSW Green and the president of GGI Energy from Plano, Texas, were in Blackfoot last week to present their latest proposal to the Bingham County Commissioners.
After listening to the proposal from GGI Energy, Bingham County Commissioner Cleone Jolley said, “I’m not going to negotiate any project with MSW Green.
“I’m going to court; I’m going to get this settled.”
Speaking to the officials from MSW Green, Jolley said, “You have not done anything. In the existing contract with MSW Green, MSW Green has not fulfilled their part of the contract.”
In a 2007 contract, MSW Green agreed to build a waste-to-energy plant at the Bingham County Transfer Station. MSW Green was to install [a waste-to-energy plant], manage and operate the transfer station for 20 years, starting June 1, 2010.
By the middle of June, subcontractors with MSW Green had stopped work because they had not been paid.
Because garbage was piling up and could become a potential health hazard, the county stepped in to take over management and operation of the transfer station and hired subcontractors.
Under that contract, the county agreed to pay MSW Green a minimum of $50,000 each month for the length of the contract—20 years—from June 1, 2010, through May 31, 2030.
The county pays this $50,000 amount each month into an escrow account. MSW Green has not received any of this money. Subcontractors are paid from this account.
In the 2007 contract, MSW Green had six months to repair any breach of contract. That deadline passed in December 2010.
“If this idea [from GGI Energy] is presented to the county after we get out of the contract with MSW Green, I would consider it,” Jolley said.
Attorney David Hooste from EchoHawk Law Offices represents Bingham County in this case. Hooste is a former Bingham County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.
“MSW Green is not currently providing any benefit to the county that was agreed upon in the contract, Hooste said. The county has no confidence that MSW Green can perform as expected.
"Because the existing contract between MSW Green and Bingham County is in litigation and has not yet been cancelled by agreement of the parties or the courts, Bingham County’s hands are tied in terms of finding the most effective alternative to manage the county’s solid waste," Hooste said. "By seeking only to renegotiate the 2007 contract, MSW Green is in a position where it doesn’t really compete on a level playing field with all other options.
"Only after the litigation regarding the existing contract is settled, could the county fairly consider the new proposal submitted by GGI Energy, along with any other proposal that other entities may submit," Hooste said. "We have some further discussions with MSW Green and their attorney planned, and, if those fail, we are set for trial in August.”
In its proposal Rodolfo Jimenez, president and EOO of GGI Energy said his company would take on funding and full implementation of the project.
“We have already invested $300,000 to develop engineering for cold weather in Idaho,” said Jimenez. “We will invest, manage and operate waste-to-energy for Bingham County.
“We have completed all the engineering and are ready to go,” Jimenez said.
GGI Energy uses a gasification method that has practically zero waste, he added.
At the conclusion of his presentation, Jimenez proposed that Bingham County negotiate an amendment to the 2007 contract with MSW Green.
One of these amendments suggested Bingham County donate one to two acres at the Bingham County Transfer Station for this plant.
“[GGI Energy] would provide $17 million worth of investment for water-to-energy technology that would create 45 jobs,” Jimenez said. “GGI Energy would secure all contracts for fuel in the region; it would be used as the model for waste-to-energy technology for this region of the U.S.”
"The project [with GGI Energy] is 100 percent funded,” said MSW Green vice president Austin Johnson. “It is completed and ready to go.
“This is GGI Energy’s company and their plant,” Johnson said. “MSW Green has a minor part in this.
“It would be a grave mistake to let it go,” Johnson said. “There’s no reason to cancel a good, valid contract.”
Don Fredley, president of MSW Green, said, “We would like to continue with the contract.
“We have been frustrated by the market,” Fredley said, “Money is hard to get.
“This [contract with GGI Energy] would be 45 jobs and the county would get rid of waste,” said Fredley.
Commissioner Whitney Manwaring was in agreement with Jolley.
“We need to take care of this project [with MSW Green],” he said.