Garbage-to-ethanol plant proposed for Northwest Indiana
Northwest Indiana county wants to be one of the first in the country to turn household garbage into ethanol fuel, but to make that happen, the county may have to actu
Maybe you remember the closing scene near the end of the classic film Back to the Future.
The one where Doc Brown arrives and insists Marty McFly go with him. Doc then quickly grabs garbage in front of Marty’s house and tosses into a contraption to fuel the time machine – a DeLorean sports car.
The scene’s kinda inspiring to at least one government official. It’s the idea of taking garbage, turning that into ethanol … and running your car.
LANGBEHN: This is absolutely what that is.
Jeffrey Langbehn heads the Solid Waste Management District of Lake County, Indiana.
LANGBEHN: In the DeLorean, they had a radioactive thing. This is not radioactive of course. It just so happens that they are using our waste, which is a very large problem to the communities, as its fuel source. This will change the way we as society handle our waste stream.
It sounds farfetched but an
Powers Energy could spend 280-million dollars to build the facility in
The plant could create hundreds of temporary and permanent jobs. But here’s the wrinkle: Lake County Indiana would own this garbage-to-ethanol facility.
The idea would be to ensure that the plant can get enough garbage to produce fuel.
No other local government in the country’s done this.
That has some concerned, including the county sheriff, Roy Dominguez.
DOMINGUEZ: I’m against the co-ownership. I’m against taxpayers’ liability because the taxpayers should not be used as collater
And Dominquez is galled by something else …The county hasn’t released notes about a conversation about liability.
DOMINGUEZ: And, if we’re co-owners, why would you keep us out of that information?
SCHEUB: This is the most transparent thing I have ever been involved in 34 years in office.
That’s Gerry Scheub, chairman of the county waste board. He says Dominquez has it wrong. The county wouldn’t be at risk. Scheub says regardless, nearly every aspect of the ethanol-to-garbage facility has been done openly. He says only one portion was closed to the public.
Scheub says this was during a so-c
SCHEUB: Transparency has been there but when you have an executive session, that’s the right of every government
And he’s right. Executive sessions are meant for touchy discussions like this. But Sheriff Dominguez believes even private t
DOMINGUEZ: If you’re sued, that has to do with financi
Dominquez isn’t the only one asking questions about secrecy; others in the county are asking them, too. It’s been enough that Lake County Indiana’s solid waste board is now thinking twice about owning the garbage-to-ethanol facility.
It could make up its mind next month.