Owners want to reopen biofuel plant

by Bryan Salvage
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CARTHAGE, MO. — City officials and Renewable Environmental Solutions are discussing reopening a southwest Missouri plant that was once the subject of a lawsuit over odors created from converting poultry byproducts into fuel and fertilizer, according The Associated Press.

On June 15, Jim Crum, a plant manager at R.E.S., met with Mayor Jim Woestman to discuss the plant’s future. Mr. Crum said the company had not obtained financing to restart the plant, but "we are definitely looking." Mr. Woestman was a critic of odor problems at the plant and said "nothing was definite" about the reopening. "We welcome industry, but we don’t want any odor problems," he said.

On March 1, the plant ceased operating and about 50 workers were laid off. Parent company Changing World Technologies of West Hempstead, N.Y., filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter. Brian Appel, C.W.T. owner, said that after the filing he hoped to open the Carthage plant using grease and oil in the conversion process rather than poultry byproducts.

Since it opened in the spring of 2004, the plant, which converted poultry byproducts into fuel oil and fertilizer products, had been a source of odor complaints. The city joined with the Missouri attorney general’s office in filing a public-nuisance lawsuit the following year. The action was settled, and R.E.S. installed odor-control equipment that company officials said addressed odor issues.

Complaints, however, continued and the city council amended regulations this year so it could start its own odor-enforcement program.

C.W.T. has asked a bankruptcy judge for an extension through Sept. 30 as the deadline by which officials must tell the court whether they will keep all the company’s property leases, including the Carthage property that is leased from ConAgra Poultry Co.

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