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Port interested in learning more about tire recycling plant

Will the Port of Sunnyside try to woo a tire recycling plant to the city now that the city of Moxee has a nixed a deal?

It could very well be, although, says Port Manager Amber Hansen, "I think it's important to note that we don't know enough about their project to make a very informed decision.

"We would like to talk with them to learn more about their project."

According to Yakima County Development Association's Dave McFadden, Organic Energy Conversion Company of Tacoma had been eyeing an existing building in Moxee to open up a first in the nation plant that processes tires, breaking them down to chemical components like fuels and activated carbons.

McFadden said that after a year of answering questions and enduring the initial permitting process with the Department of Ecology and the Yakima Regional Clean Air Authority, the city of Moxee voted against it.

"I just think they got nervous about a plant that was untried and untested," said McFadden.

But, he added, "Other communities may readily say, we need this."

McFadden said that if Moxee had given the green light and there did end up being some kind of environmental problem at the plant, Ecology or the clean air authority could have shut it down.

McFadden said that he feels perceptions about tires could have possibly played a part, adding that people tend to see tires as a breeding ground for a mosquito problem.

But he noted that the company would only accept compressed tire blocks, called ecology blocks, which are highly compressed bales of tires. The company has patented technology to break the tires down to chemical compounds, he said.

"They're into recovery," said McFadden.

McFadden said the plant would create about 60 jobs and bring millions to the local economy.

Hansen said that Port officials are interested in learning more about the company and what it does.

"Before we would want to get too serious, we'd want to make sure things are OK on our end," she said. "The more the community knows about the project, the better it would be."

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