February 11, 2010

Burning coal is a hot topic

Burning coal is a hot topic
By CHERYL ODDEN

Before the first truckload of soil was removed from the area that has become the new Garrison Bay Marina, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers knew that coal would be unearthed.
Under terms of a contract with the Corps, Martin Construction, Gladstone, contractor for the project, agreed to remove the coal from the site. That was never done, however.
In fact, over the past several months, it seems that nobody has been willing to accept responsibility for removing the coal from the site.
Even though Martin Construction had been charged with removal, the company did not complete the marina project. After missing construction deadlines set by the Corps, Martin Construction was released from the project about a year ago.
Not only has removal of the pile become a problem, it has evolved into a burning hot problem. Over the past several weeks, the Garrison Fire Department has monitored the pile as it has smoldered and begun to burn. The coal pile–about 50,000 tons of fuel – is located on private land north of Fort Stevenson State Park.
During the Feb. 2 meeting of the McLean County Commission, Ladd Erickson, McLean County States Attorney, said the county might need to act as a facilitating agent between two companies that could work together to solve the problem. The companies are Martin Construction and Falkirk Mining Company.
Erickson noted that the local mining company could use the coal, which is burnable.
“It’s not really cost-effective for Falkirk to use the coal,” Erickson noted. “They can get better coal at a closer distance.”
Even though Falkirk doesn’t need the coal, Erickson said the company might be willing to take it as a favor to the county.
“It’s Martin’s coal,” Commissioner Ron Krebsbach said, adding that he had discussed the situation with Senator Dorgan’s office. “The Corps has nothing to do with it.”
With Martin Construction being responsible for the coal and Falkirk Mining Company being willing to accept it, another issue is raised – who will pay for removal?
 


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