Bryan County figuring out what to do with vacant biofuel plant

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- County Commissioners say the old Earth Biofuels building is in pretty bad shape.

"And so we're in the process of getting some quotes from some electricians here, and get them to look at it and see what it costs to get the electricity turned back on and get everything working," said chairman Jay Perry.

The county re-possessed the abandoned plant about a year ago, after years of unpaid property taxes, Perry said.

"We've got to know what's physically ours. Make sure those buildings are actually ours, what's on our property," he said.

Perry began working on this project a couple weeks ago, starting with a land survey.

"We've got to see where everything sits and how it all fits on there, because I've heard a few people raise issue with that," he said.

The plant has sat empty since 2007.

Bryan County emergency manager James Dalton said in 2008, the EPA removed all dangerous chemicals after someone broke into the plant.

"And we discovered at that time there were still chemicals in a suspended state," he said.

The EPA and DEQ went to great lengths to make sure the property is safe, Dalton said.

"DEQ did soil samples for us as well to make sure there was no residual in the soil that would drain into our water system," he said.

Dalton said it's unlikely they'll let the next owner re-open the property as a biofuel facility because of its location downtown.

"We would want to make sure that whatever did go in there would be safe to the residents around it," he said.

Perry said it's likely the plant will be a net loss.

"Obviously the taxes that are against it are probably worth more than the property," he said.

He said one person has expressed interest in leasing the building. But commissioners say they're not sure if they want to lease it or hold out until they can sell it.

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