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  • Viresco Energy LLC has Officially Withdrawn Plans to Build a Coal Gas Plant in Kanab
    by Sky Chaney - President ~ Taxpayer Association of Kane County
    Published - 01/03/14 - 08:51 AM | 7 7 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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    (KANAB, Utah) - The biggest holiday gift received by the residents of Kanab Utah (Home of the Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, and other iconic Hollywood movies) was the announcement that Viresco Energy LLC has officially withdrawn plans to build their experimental coal gas plant in Kanab. Kanab activists have been working for three years to keep this toxic industrial project out of their community. Recent news that Viresco has cancelled the lease of their land from the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) confirms that this Riverside, California energy company will not be building their coal gas plant in Southwest Utah.

    In response to a 2011 poll indicating that 9 out of 10 Kanab businesses did not want a coal gas plant built inside Kanab, the Taxpayer Association of Kane County decided to launch a full battle against the project. Raising almost $100,000, the Taxpayer Association launched a ballot initiative, three appeals, and two lawsuits to stop construction of the project. As a result of these legal actions, Jim Guthrie, the President of Viresco was unable to raise necessary investor dollars to move his project forward... and the Department of Energy cancelled the $2.4 million dollar grant that Viresco was to receive to construct the coal gas plant.

    What makes this win particularly surprising (and unlikely) is that the Viresco Energy project was supported by US Senator Mike Bennett, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, State Representative Mike Noel, the Mayor of Kanab, and the US Department of Energy. Despite strong political pressure to build this coal gas plant in Kanab, the actions of local activists and the rallying of community support has finally succeeded in defeating this coal energy project.

    Comments
    (7)
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    Donald Taylor
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    January 09, 2014
    What is wrong with you people in Kanab? This was a little tiny pilot-plant. The air emissions impact was about like one truck driving through town. I hope the lights go out in your town tonight.
    Ed Meyer
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    January 03, 2014
    Neither the Kanab City Council nor the Kanab City Mayor ever indicated support or opposition for the project. To do so would have been improper. City staff administered Viresco's applications according to the local ordinances and city officials took actions based on the ordinances then in place. When appeals were filed by opponents of the project (who had every right to do so), the courts found in Kanab's favor in every instance. Kanab was not supporting Viresco in these cases. Rather, they were defending their actions in the case which were consistent with existing ordinances. The business survey conducted by the opponents was never authenticated. However, responses might have been skewed based on how the questions were phrased and the businesses chosen for the survey. However,another survey by the Center of Business and Economic Development found that most businesses didn't care one way or the other though several business did ask that the City do their best to protect the environment. As a result, city ordinances were reviewed to determine how they could be revised to provide increased environmental protection. A citizen initiative that would have effectively stopped the Viresco project was placed on the ballot by the City Council and defeated by Kanab voters. The opposition to Viresco provided a valuable service in bringing the inadequacies of certain ordinances to light. However, their actions did little, if anything, to stop Viresco. Their actions did, however, cost a small town nearly $100,000 in legal fees. They, of course, had every right to file these appeals though funds were diverted from other important local needs to meet the expenses. ot surprisingly, the media presented the opponents response to Viresco withdrawing without seeking an alternative perspective. Besides, the truth of what happened is boring, not sensational.
    Sky Chaney
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    January 04, 2014
    Sorry Ed. The City of Kanab had no business approving this heavy industrial project in the first place. We intentionally don't have a heavy manufacturing zone in place in Kanab. The City approved this toxic coal gas plant using a technicality... by calling it Research & Development. In fact, I watched you march out of a city council meeting in disgust because the Planning Commission was relying on this technicality... and now for some reason you're defending Kanab City's mismanagement of the Viresco project.

    Worst yet, the City of Kanab then failed to follow both State and local laws in its subsequent approvals. They also failed to protect local taxpayers and residents from the health and financial risks associated with the project.

    That's why our Taxpayer Association decided to block the project. You can make all the excuses you want from your position as a city official, but the bottom line is that most businesses and families in Kanab don't want to live with a polluting coal gas plant... and the City failed to represent the public interest. -Sky Chaney, President ~ Taxpayer Association of Kane County
    daveater
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    January 07, 2014
    Mr. Meyer is absolutely correct. Mr. Chaney is still wrong and still refuses to admit it. How can anyone put credence to his words?
    old 2L fool
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    January 03, 2014
    Quote: "Toxic industrial project"?? This project was to be overseen by Federal & State EPA, with their high standards, the plant would have put out less pollutants than a typical wood or COAL stove/fireplace (unfiltered). I hear no outcry there.

    You left out the fact that the so called Kane Taxpayer Association LOST every law suit, appeal, and even the ballot initiative. Viresco was simply tired of the lawsuits and outspent....by 'taxpayer' money. Bye Bye jobs, alternative fuel research, and progress. Hello "business unfriendly" community.
    tired_of_it_all
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    January 03, 2014
    You are correct in your quote "business unfriendly". The biggest holiday gift received by the residents of Kanab. Utah was a divided community and being labeled a business unfriendly community.

    daveater
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    January 03, 2014
    Old 2L Fool is exactly right. The opponents of the Viresco R & D project diseminated so much that was not true, it was appalling. The city of Kanab won every law suit. The only thing that happened as a result of the opponent's lies and deceptions was that Kanab has become known as not friendly to business and any of the people who might have come to see a far sited plan for a small town will not see that now. Good luck to the new mayor and the sitting city council in dealing with these people.
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