Tag Archives: Wiregrass Power LLC

Dancing Around the Issue —Dr. Noll

Received this morning on Biomass plant land offer. -jsq
It is unbelievable that despite all the concerns in our community about biomass, the Industrial authority is still considering to sell the land to a company like Wiregrass Power LLC. This is the same company the Industrial Authority once stated it had no faith in anymore. This is the same company that just missed another deadline as stipulated by their contract. And this is the same company that apparently does not have the best interest of our community in mind.
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Sterling Planet wants to buy biomass site

Why would Sterling Planet want to buy the biomass site, unless they want to come back later and propose to build a biomass plant on it? Funny how the Industrial Authority didn’t mention this when they said Sterling Planet missed the June 1 deadline for building the biomass plant.

Here’s the relevant part of this morning’s VDT story by David Rodock:

The other major announcement at the meeting was the possibility of Wiregrass LLC exercising the option to purchase the 22.2-acre tract of land that was originally planned to be used for the biomass facility.

“We gave them the option to purchase the land based on certain terms and conditions,” said Gupton. “They basically sent us a certified letter prior to June 1 stating they wished to exercise their option to purchase the 22.2-acre tract of land within 60 days.”

“We are currently looking at the letter to understand if we agree if they have that option and will continue our due diligence,” said Allan Ricketts, project manager, via conference call. “We don’t know anything other than they have sent us a certified letter indicating that they would like to pursue that option.”

And why don’t you know anything other? Can nobody pick up the phone and call Sonny Murphy and ask him? You remember him, the Chairman of Sterling Planet who recently said:
It’s not over until it’s over.


What are they thinking? —Dr. Noll

Dr. Noll has a few questions. This came in as a comment Saturday. I’ll be happy to ask VLCIA Chairman Jerry Jennett these and other questions when he calls me back. -jsq
Let me see if I got this right:
  1. The week before the last meeting of the Industrial Authority (IA) Wiregrass Biomass LLC sent a letter to the IA asking for an extension of the agreement to build the biomass incinerator. (June 1, 2011, is the current deadline.)
  2. Based on comments made by Chairman Paulk and others, all indications were that the IA may have been ready to vote down such an application for an extension of the agreement.
  3. However, the vote on biomass never came up at the IA meeting, and as a matter of fact, biomass wasn’t even discussed, as it was not even on the agenda. Apparently a few hours before the IA meeting, “biomass” (or a vote on the extension of the agreement with Wiregrass Biomass LLC) was removed from the agenda.
  4. This change of events (i.e. the removal of a vote on biomass) was based on an initiative by Mr. Jennett (Chair of the IA board), Mr. Ricketts (Project Manager of the IA) and Mr. Gupton (the IA lawyer) who went to Atlanta to have a little chat with Wiregrass Biomass LLC (or Sterling Planet).
  5. As a result of that talk, Wiregrass Biomass LLC withdrew their application for an extension of the agreement. Thus, there was no contract (or an extension of a contract) to vote on at the last IA meeting.
What sense would it make
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Who’s for What at the VLCIA

I don’t like to publish hearsay, but since the Industrial Authority won’t talk, that’s what I’ve got. According to Leigh Touchton, Ashley Paulk told her Tuesday night:
He said that Jerry Jennett took the biomass vote off the agenda at last Industrial Authority meeting (April 19) even though Mary Gooding and Roy Copeland wanted the vote to be taken ( a vote that was to oppose an extension of the biomass contract since the biomass incinerator had not met timeline benchmarks like having a buyer, etc). He said that Allan Ricketts, Industrial Authority attorney Steve Gupton, and Jerry Jennett went up to Atlanta to meet with Wiregrass officials and that’s when he (Chairman Paulk) got a call telling him all this and he said he wouldn’t keep quiet about it. He said the three men asked Wiregrass LLC officials to rescind their letter asking VLCIA for an extension on their contract and to substitute a new letter saying they were withdrawing their request for extension (or not going forward to ask for extension).
This is in addition to what you can see him on video saying during the meeting. More after this picture of the cast of characters: Continue reading

Public criticism —Leigh Touchton

Leigh Touchton posted a comment with a report from last night’s Valdosta City Council meeting:
I won’t stay to the end in the future because if they are going to make public attacks on citizens and then go into Executive session so they don’t have to hear a rebuttal, then I don’t care to listen to their bombast. Yost apparently thinks your public criticism of the activists not staying (and also the Tea Party left right after one of their members read from the Bible about how laws and regulation are a sin–I had difficulty keeping from laughing out loud—we’re in a recession because laws and regulation were thrown away and banks made a video called Banks Gone Wild…but I digress)…apparently Yost thinks your criticism of people not staying is something he can use to good effect to nullify the need to publicly address citizen complaints. Here’s his position, distilled:
“You won’t stay to the end, I’m offended. You called our important work boring, I’m offended. (much redness of face, some veins popping out) You come in here and talk to us like that then I’m not going to address your complaints, I’m offended.”
Well I’m offended that a grown man elected to represent Valdosta acts like that.

Let me go back and educate the gentle readers out there who haven’t

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VDT says VLCIA illegally made up a document

Today’s editorial in the VDT is Another Industrial Authority misstep refers to the VDT article and editorial of Sunday, and continues:
The reporter who conducted the interview with Industrial Authority Project Manager Allen Ricketts has been subsequently repeatedly contacted by Ricketts for what he deems “false reporting.” According to Ricketts, the timeline was never official and was only something the Industrial Authority threw together to appease the Times when given an official Open Records Request. Ricketts is apparently unaware that legally he cannot produce a document that does not exist to comply with said request. If he knowingly did so, as he now claims, that is a clear violation of the Open Records Act.
Presumably that would be the “Project Critical Path time-line is attached” that wasn’t actually attached to documents returned for an open records request of 17 February 2011. Hm, since VLCIA did supply such a document to the VDT, presumably it is now a VLCIA document subject to open records request, even though it was not what VLCIA told VDT it was.

Back to the VDT editorial: Continue reading

Just say no to biomass –VDT to VLCIA

VDT reported on Biomass plant misses deadlines, but what do they really think? The title is my paraphrase of Sunday’s editorial title, It’s all up to the Industrial Authority:
In two months, less than 60 days away, Wiregrass Power LLC is supposed to break ground on the biomass facility in Lowndes County. By now, they are supposed to have contracts with power companies to sell the electricity to and with suppliers to purchase the wood waste. They have neither, nor does the company have an agreement with the city of Valdosta to purchase the wastewater from the sewage treatment plant.
Well, the City of Valdosta could refuse to sell the wastewater. And maybe the Lowndes County Commission could exercise its fiduciary responsibility. But, sure, the Industrial Authority could just say no.
And yet the folks at the Industrial Authority appear to be rather nonchalant about the fact that this company has yet again broken its agreement. They have the power to renogiate the terms of the agreement and they also have the power to cancel it, but neither is happening. Instead, they are giving the company all the leeway they need to continue dragging this project along that the community doesn’t want.
Folks? Like Col. Ricketts? But remember, he and Lame-Duck Lofton are only Continue reading

Biomass plant misses deadlines –VDT

David Rodock writes on the front page of the Sunday VDT today (the highest profile news source for the region) that Biomass plant misses deadlines: Will the plant move forward?
The Wiregrass Power LLC biomass facility was supposed to have met a number of project goals established by the Economic Development Agreement (EDA) between the company and the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority by April 1, 2011. According to Allen Ricketts, Industrial Authority project manager, those goals still have yet to be met.

The specific goals in the agreement were that a “finalized engineering procurement construction contract” would be ready by March 31. By April 1, the company was supposed to have finalized both a power purchase/transmission agreement along with a wastewater/biosolids agreement.

They’ve been slipping deadlines for quite some time. According to page 4 of that EDA (which you can see for yourself on the LAKE web site): Continue reading

Valdostans protest biomass –VSU Spectator

Molly Duet writes in the VSU newspaper today:
Protestors wearing respirator masks held signs reading “Biomass? No!” in front of the Valdosta City Hall building on Thursday. Members of the Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy, the VSU student organization Students Against Violating the Environment, and other concerned Valdosta citizens showed up to protest the construction of the Wiregrass Power: Biomass Electric Generating Plant.

“We already have solar power resources in place that we could be using and I feel like money should be directed towards that,” Ivey Roubique, vice-president of the Student Geological Society, said. “It wouldn’t be good for the community and even though I’m in college here it still matters.”

The Spectator article quotes from two speakers for whom LAKE happens to have video, linked below. Continue reading

Why? There’s speculation about money — Stewart Emmett (?) @ VCC 24 March 2011

When public officials ignore objections for long enough, eventually people start speculating as to their motives, in this case about the proposed biomass plant. Here’s the video:

Regular meeting of the Valdosta City Council, 24 February 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.