Earl Powers' trash-to-ethanol plan sounded good in the same way that Star Trek teleportation sounded good. Maybe someday it would work out, but who really wants to be the test pilot for this new technology?
Powers' trash-to-ethanol plan has been around for four years but still hasn't managed to attract an investor, let alone acquire land or permits.
It's time to pull the plug on this project. Even longtime supporter Gerry Scheub has expressed frustration with the failure to get this project moving. Scheub seems resigned to the prospect of the Lake County Solid Waste Management District Board finally giving up on this trash-to-ethanol infatuation.
Scheub, a Lake County commissioner who sits on the waste district board, spoke with Times Investigative Editor Marc Chase about this.
"If it doesn't work out, we need to keep pursuing other routes than throwing our garbage into the ground," Scheub said.
Scheub is concerned about the costs -- both financial and environmental -- of putting garbage in landfills.
But with the trash-to-ethanol project stalled even before it hits the drawing board, household waste from Lake County that isn't recycled continues to go to landfills.
The Lake County Solid Waste Management District Board must finally say time's up for the trash-to-ethanol dream. Seek new ideas for disposing of the county's household waste.
Too much time has been wasted already on this trash-to-ethanol pipe dream. Cancel the contract.
Put out a request for proposals and evaluate them carefully. Look at the potential environmental consequences of each means of disposal, and weigh the cost to taxpayers and residents as well. Determine whether investors are going to back the project and whether it likely would clear regulatory hurdles.
In other words, make sure the next option chosen for disposing of the county's household trash is credible, not just incredible.