Developers of a controversial coal-fired power plant in Sevier County now intend to transport and dispose of the proposed facility's fly ash in Carbon County and Tooele County landfills rather than close to home.
"Our thinking is to proceed with construction and transport the waste out of the county" -- once the hotly contested venture clears its last legal hurdles, said Sevier Power Co. executive Bruce Taylor.
Late last week, power company attorney Brian Burnett wrote Sevier County commissioners, informing them that Sevier Power was withdrawing its request to pursue an 11-acre landfill near Highway 24, about 35 miles from the proposed 270-megawatt Sigurd facility.
Burnett outlined two options for Sevier Power's fly ash disposal: Tooele County's Wasatch Regional Landfill and Carbon County's ECDC landfill.
Both sites are operated by Republic Services, which touts itself as the second largest non-hazardous solid waste management company in the United States.
In a letter from Republic's general manager, Kirk Treece, to Taylor, Treece wrote that the eastern Carbon site has more than 500 years of remaining capacity and Tooele's has 150 years left.
They won't be needing that space, predicts Jim Kennon, who heads up Sevier Citizens for Clean Air and Water.
"We're happy," Kennon said of the grass-roots group that has dogged Sevier Power for eight years. "We think that between the [state] Supreme Court and 6th District Court lawsuits, that facility will never be built."
Last October the group argued before Utah's high court that Sevier Power's air quality permit expired in 2003. And today's tighter restrictions would bar it from getting a new one, Kennon says.
That court decision is still pending.
In February, Kennon's group will argue in district court that Sevier County violated its own ordinances in the way it rezoned the 299-acre agricultural parcel to accommodate Sevier Power's plans.
"Our position remains the same," Kennon said. "We don't want it here."
That sentiment could change, Kennon added, if Sevier Power shifted to solar, wind or geothermal energy production.
"If they put their effort into renewables," Kennon said, "they would have our support."