LAKE STATION | After a lengthy discussion, City Council members agreed Thursday to sign an interlocal cooperation agreement with the Lake County Solid Waste Management District.

The agreement allows the city to take part in the proposed $450 million privately owned trash-to-ethanol plant if it goes forward.

Lake Station is one of 11 municipalities to sign the agreement, said Jeff Langbehn, executive director for the waste district.

"Griffith still hasn't signed it," Langbehn said.

Communities throughout Lake County are being asked to sign the interlocal agreement with the waste district to participate in the biofuel plant.

The agreement will allow the waste district to estimate how much garbage initially will be available for processing, Langbehn said.

Lake Station City Attorney James Meyer advised the council to approve the agreement because it's nonbinding.

"In my opinion, there's nothing to lose by signing the agreement because you can get out of it," Meyer said.

Mayor Keith Soderquist agreed with Meyer: "Simply put: It's just giving us an option if the plant is built."

In addition, communities that sign the agreement before a July 19 deadline will receive an additional 50 percent rebate the first year of operation, Meyer said.

"There is a financial incentive," Meyer said.

The solid waste district signed a contract with developer Earl Powers of Powers Energy of America in November 2008 to construct the plant in Schneider.

However, Powers has yet to secure outside financing for the venture, which has become a sticking point.

Langbehn earlier this week made it clear that the solid waste district is sticking to its July 19 deadline when it comes to Powers having financing in hand to construct the plant.

"If you don't have the money, you don't have a deal," Langbehn said recently.

source: nwtimes

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