Bond issuance, contracts approved at Sept. 19 Supervisors meeting
By Dana Trumbull
On September 19, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the issuance by the Industrial Development Authority of revenue bonds not to exceed $60 million. The bond revenue will finance sewage and solid waste facilities to be constructed near Stanfield.
“The purpose of the facility is to process cow manure and food waste products and generate methane gas, which gets scrubbed and injected into the Kinder-Morgan pipeline for transport to the Los Angeles basin, where British Petroleum contracts to buy the gas. It is then sold and used for transportation systems throughout the LA Basin,” explained Bill Wilder, attorney for the Industrial Development Authority.
Scott Stephanopoulos, construction project manager, informed the Supervisors that the site for the digester plant, “was chosen for the density of agricultural production in the area – the sheer volume of manure produced in a very tight area, between Shamrock Farms, T&K [dairy and feedlots] and the Pinal Feedlots, and also the [proximity to] the major pipelines that run through our county. Add the fact that we don’t see 30 below in the winters – and that Pinal County is both pro-business and pro-agriculture. It was really a perfect location.
“All of the manure that was previously either piled or sent to the large manure lagoons is captured and taken into the tanks. The bio-gas, or the methane and CO2 that was produced and emitted into the atmosphere from those lagoons is now captured in the top of the tanks, pulled out, cleaned up and injected into the pipeline. The part that is not digested is still highly valuable fertilizer, and it goes right back to the farmland.
“The only real difference in this [process] is that we’re capturing that gas instead of letting it go into the atmosphere.”
According to www.onegreenplanet.org, methane traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide; however it leaves the atmosphere within a decade, making it a short-lived, but intense climate changer. Worldwide, agriculture, including manure management, is the primary source of methane emissions.
District 4 Supervisor Anthony Smith commented, “It is very exciting to me that this is continuing the building blocks of our quest to become a green county with our solar, our bio gas and our ethanol plant in the city of Maricopa. All these things combine in order to promote green technologies.”
A public hearing for the bond issuance was held earlier in the day; however, “No one appeared to comment and be heard,” according to Wilder. The facility will be constructed by WOF SW GGP 1, LLC.
Other items on the agenda included awarding the contract to build the Central Pinal Justice Court and Public Health Clinic in Coolidge, AZ, to Danson Construction, LLC, for the bid price of $2,711,900. Danson was with lowest responsible bidder.
Contract renewals were approved for professional airport engineering design & construction management services for Pinal Airpark; landfill disposal services through Republic Services dba Cactus Waste Systems, Central Arizona Transfer, Inc. and Right Away Disposal & Waste Management; and joint land use study consultancy with Matrix Design Group.
The Consent Agenda included a resolution approving the Pinal County Attorneys Office application to the Gila River Indian Community State-Shared Revenue Program for $5,000 per year for 3 years ($15,000). The funds would be used to purchase 150 Guardian Alert Units for seniors living alone in their own homes. The units are worn by the seniors and enable them to access 911 directly by pushing a button. Gila River selected this application to move forward for possible funding and requested submission of a BOS resolution as the next step in its funding decision process.
The request for funding was submitted pursuant to Proposition 202, which passed in November, 2002. The agreement provides for the sharing of gaming revenues with the state. A portion of those revenues are distributed to cities, towns or counties for government services that benefit the general public, including public safety, mitigation of the impacts of gaming or promotion of commerce and economic development. Since 2003, the Gila River Indian Community has contributed over $40 million to Arizona communities through this revenue sharing program.
Also on the consent agenda, although pulled for discussion, was an Intergovernmental Agreement for the purpose of transferring ownership of livestock fence panels from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to the Oracle Elementary School District for the amount of $1.00.
“We weren’t using the panels; they were just sitting there,” explained Sheriff Mark Lamb. “Oracle had a need for them, and since we no longer have any horses, we thought this would be a good opportunity to give [the fence panels] to a part of the county that did. We felt fortunate to be able to give them to [Oracle Elementary School District] – obviously at a very reduced cost.”
The sale was approved unanimously.
Photo above: Project Manager Scott Stephanopoulos explains how the new digester plant near Stanfield will harvest methane and CO2 for sale as bio-fuel.