Viresco Energy LLC revoked its proposal to build an experimental coal gasification plant in Kanab. Sky Chaney, president of the Taxpayer Association of Kane County, said many of Kanab’s residents are happy about this recent announcement.
Chaney said Jim Guthrie, president of Viresco, decided to build the experimental plant in Kanab with the support of Gov. Gary Herbert, Rep. Mike Noel (R- District 73), the Mayor of Kanab and the US Department of Energy.
Chaney also said the Taxpayer Association took a poll and discovered 9 out of 10 businesses in Kanab didn’t want the plant to be built despite the political support. Some were worried about the aesthetics and others were worried about the plant’s environmental impact.
“It was built as a clean energy project but it turns out that clean gasification really is toxic and a dirty industry," Chaney said. "In order to produce clean fuel from coal you have to remove toxicities from it. So there was going to be different kinds of toxicities coming into the air, the water and solid waste.”
After discovering this, Chaney said the Taxpayer Association “raised almost $100,000, launched a ballot initiative, three appeals and two lawsuits to stop construction of the project.”
In the end, Guthrie couldn’t get enough investors to fund the project and withdrew his plans to build the plant, Chaney said.
“I think that the people in Kanab, in general, are quite happy that there isn’t going to be this kind of energy producing and energy polluting industry inside of our town," Chaney said.
Morgan Pratt is a sophomore at Utah State University majoring in Journalism and Communication.