Proposed waste gasification plant meets opposition in North Las Vegas

North Las Vegas residents yet to weigh in on a controversial power plant proposed near Losee and Lone Mountain Roads might find themselves in a bit of a bind.

On one hand, plant backers at Florida-based EP Renewable Inc. have never built a power plant before.

The company will need about 1,000 tons per day of burnable construction waste they don’t have in order to produce 48 megawatts of power no one has agreed to buy in a city that, according to Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, doesn’t want their business.

On the other hand, Mayo-DeRiso’s opposition efforts are funded by the Melbrum Family Trust, backers of an extensive public relations blitz aimed at discrediting proponents’ claims over the environmental safety of the project and sounding the alarm over potentially carcinogenic emissions at the plant site.

Late last month, Mayo-DeRiso recruited volunteers to pass out fliers to parents picking up their children at D.L. Dickens Elementary School, about a mile and a half northeast of the site.

The fliers are covered with pictures of the bio-hazard logo and a person in a full chemical suit and gas mask. Mayo-DeRiso said that with “so much noise out there” she wanted the flier to really grab people’s attention.

“I hope it’s scary as s***,” she said.

Lately, she and others have pointed to a ready-made solution: Why not just move the plant to APEX Industrial Park, home to thousands of undeveloped acres partially owned by the Melbrums?

The idea seems to be picking up steam.

“I don’t think I’ve been misinformed by anything put on Facebook about the health concerns,” Christine Washburn told city council members on Feb. 5. “We don’t want this plant here. Do we want this technology in the city? Maybe down at APEX, which is not that far down the road.”

Other independent plant skeptics fear the $108 million project smells like Amonix — the North Las Vegas-based solar manufacturing plant that promised 300 jobs but was shuttered within a year of collecting some $20 million in federal subsidies.

Christie Linert, who lives within a mile of the proposed facility, said she’ll simply leave town if it is built.

“I don’t trust this company,” Linert said Thursday. “They were incorporated less than a year ago and have never designed or managed a power plant of any kind, let alone a gasification plant, anywhere in the world.”

EP Renewable representatives admit the fledgling company faces an uphill battle to build its first plant in North Las Vegas.

The $108 million plant, within two miles of five public schools, would feature a “low-oxygen” chamber designed to stifle emissions, but also a pair of unsightly 65-foot smokestacks and a stockpile of trash equivalent to more than a seventh of Republic Services’ total daily waste volume.

Blueprints recently approved by city planning commissioners would see the facility turn 2 million pounds of discarded lumber, paper, carpet and plastic into enough steam turbine-generated power to light about 50,000 homes.

Without distribution contracts inked with NV Energy or Valley Electric, it’s hard to say where the company plans to send all that power.

Representatives from Republic Services and Valley Electric said plant officials hadn’t yet contacted them to discuss the facility, though EP Renewable CEO Leonardo Riera isn’t much bothered by the company’s failure to line up key contractors.

Riera said he doesn’t plan to pursue contracts with Republic Services, but denied any plans to truck in waste from out of state to keep plant turbines spinning.

He said NV Energy has long backed the plant’s construction and shown informal interest in distributing the facility’s power.

In a statement Friday NV Energy noted only that a state-mandated shift away from coal-fired energy would give all renewable energy developers an opportunity to submit their projects for company review. Company spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht did not immediately return requests for further comment on the the EP Renewable project.

Riera declined to comment on “sensitive negotiations” with other, unnamed waste and power purchase providers.

EP Renewable President Neil Williams said his company’s partner, Arkansas-based PRM Energy Systems Inc., has helped plan and design some two-dozen near identical plant sites around the world.

PRM Chairman Ron Bailey reports one such project in Morcenx, France is set to come online Monday.

Plant neighbors at MGM Resorts-owned Shadow Creek Golf Course have already written approvingly of the effort, one Williams said will employ some 280 full-time workers.

“Our facility has lower emissions than are generated on (Interstate 15) in a day,” Williams said. “We’re environmentalists. We got into this business to find the cleanest way to produce energy, and today we are the cleanest form of energy generation that exists except wind and solar.”

Clark County Air Quality Permitting Manager Richard Beckstead has had a few months to study plant blueprints submitted by Williams and his partners in September.

Beckstead said nothing about the project or it’s near-cousin in Dalton, Ga. jumped out at him, despite a request for additional specification documents submitted by staff a few weeks ago.

Near as he can tell, the facility is in compliance with federal law and doesn’t look likely to pose “any sort of health hazard” to the public.

Beckstead’s already heard from a few plant opponents who disagree with that view.

With weeks to go before city leaders circle back to the proposal — and what could be a months-long county appeals process still on the table — he expects to hear from more.

Those still on the fence about the plant might want to settle in and enjoy the view, City Councilman Isaac Barron hinted.

“We want to get this out in front of the public as much as possible,” Barron said. “We’re going to have a nice, open forum — do this civilly — and offer people an informed choice.”

City leaders look set to revisit the gasification plant proposal March 19. Barron plans to host a town hall meeting on the topic set for 6 p.m. March 12 at Dickens Elementary.

Staff Writer Henry Brean contributed to this report. Contact reporter James DeHaven at 702-477-3839 or Follow him on Twitter at @JamesDeHaven.

Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like