The Odessa Record -

Biodiesel plant sale postponed again


March 23, 2017

A closing date of March 28 for the sale of Odessa’s mothballed biodiesel processing facility will pass, like so many dates preceding it, with no action taken. The sale is however still pending following Monday evening’s meeting of the Public Development Authority in the hospital guild room. PDA president Kim Ramm, PDA manager Stacey Rasmussen and the group’s other members were once again disappointed at the time-consuming process leading to a possible sale that is no longer being measured in months but in years.

With Richard Palmer of Global Clean Energy Holdings present at the meeting via telephone explaining the reasons for the delay, the council agreed to extend the closing date to June 28 to give the company’s financial backers more time to sort out the chaotic situation regarding the new administration’s approach to renewable fuels.

President Donald Trump’s selection of Scott Pruitt as the recently confirmed head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Sonny Perdue as the not-yet-confirmed head of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has thrown domestic biofuels markets into disarray, Palmer said. Global Energy’s strategic partners are hesitant to move forward until they see how existing programs might be affected. Most of those programs have been legislated by Congress, Palmer said, so the new department heads cannot arbitrarily cancel them without Congressional approval. However, they can create roadblocks and interference that could adversely affect the industry, he added. Those in the industry are hoping that existing programs will be left alone.

The 90-day extension will allow the financial backers to see more clearly what changes the USDA might make in terms of grants and subsidies that currently exist.

Palmer pointed out that the international biofuels market is very robust, with only the domestic U.S. market affected by so much uncertainty.

In other matters, the group approved a request by the Livestock Producers Cooperative Association to spread out the $12,000 they currently owe to the PDA over the next year in increments of $3,000 each. The group approved the request.

Jerry Schafer attended the meeting as a visitor and said that he would be interested in buying the building that formerly housed a decorative tile production facility to use as a shop. PDA members said they would prefer that the building be used for a business that would supply jobs. Nevertheless, they were not opposed to such a sale in the event that the building were to sit vacant too much longer.


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