East Carbon City discusses county's development plan
On Nov. 22, Delynn Fielding presented the county's economic development strategy to the East Carbon City Council.
During the last month, Carbon's economic development director has been presenting the economic strategy to individual municipalities in the county.
Fielding's discussion in East Carbon focused around the challenges and opportunities in the city's economic future.
"We have coal running in our veins. And one day, our heart is going to stop because coal is going to run out," said East Carbon Councilmember David Maggio. "We need to look at some type of lasting economic base that does not center around coal." Maggio continued.
According to Fielding, the ground work for different types of economic development is already being laid.
"East Carbonics is the best thing you have going for you right now," stated the county's economic development director. "They are digging their footers right now and they have very ambitious plans for the future in your area."
East Carbonics holds the rights to one of the largest naturally occurring carbon dioxide reserves in the intermountain west.
The facility will process the carbon dioxide from a gaseous state to a liquid state. The company then plans to tap into the wholesale liquid carbon dioxide and dry ice markets.
The local plant will produce food grade carbon dioxide, which can be sold directly to companies in the liquid market or further processed into dry ice.
According to the East Carbonics Web site, the western United States is starving for affordable liquid carbon dioxide.
Companies in the liquid and dry ice market are searching for a source of carbon dioxide that provides economical distribution to the west.
The most reliable source of the carbon dioxide is a natural reserve, as it is easy to increase volume as demand requires.
Facilities such as ammonia plants deliver carbon dioxide as a by-product from the companies' operations.
A natural source such as the reserve in southeastern Utah not only reliable, but has the capacity to expand and fulfill the entire demand of the carbon dioxide market in the west.
East Carbonics will provide between 10 to 13 jobs initially, continued Fielding. Three of the jobs will come from the plant, which will be largely automated.
The remainder of the positions will be supplied by transportation of the liberated carbon dioxide.
The facility will be located at the junction of Utah State Road 123 and U.S. Highway 6. There is ample room for expansion at the site.
According to Fielding, the first facility will be a 300-ton per day plant and the company owners are looking to build another similar in size as soon as possible.
The idea is to have the facilities build on themselves like modules, said the county economic development director.
The demand for carbon dioxide is more diversified than people may think, according to the company.
Carbon dioxide is used for chilling by the food industry, beverage carbonation, dry ice, fire fighting, dry cleaning, baking, horticulture, metal fabrication, water treatment, cleaning, pesticides, entertainment and oil well stimulation.
The energy industry in Carbon County has added to the demand for carbon dioxide.
According to Fielding, technologies for pushing oil out of the ground with carbon dioxide are already being utilized in other parts of the country.
And there is research currently underway do determine if natural gas can also be effectively extracted using carbon dioxide.
The new technology should bode well for the future growth of the local processing plant.
The location in East Carbon is also beneficial to the company as the owners were able to purchase 120 acres of land next to a rail spur that has a 110 car capacity.
The spur also runs to major railways both east and west.
The facility is also located only 600 yards from a major highway. These are the assets that will allow growth for the city of East Carbon.
Mayor Orlando Lafontaine inquired how East Carbon can continue to market the assets that the city has to other business.
Fielding assured East Carbon officials that, if they can get him an inventory of land consisting of a plot plan, the acreage available and ownership, he could market the city more effectively.
"If we market more effectively than we have the opportunity to grow permanently," said Fielding.
And population growth is something Carbon County needs desperately, continued the economic development director. The county's unemployment rate is so low right that it is discouraging development because there is no available labor pool.
In addition, Fielding indicated that the school district showed an 80 student rise in enrollment for 2006.
The increase in student enrollment could mean that Carbon County has hit the bottom population wise and is on the way up.
The Castle Country business expansion and retention project is expected to become one of the most powerful economic development tools in Carbon County. By focusing on individual businesses rather than the energy boom, the local area will not get hit so hard when an bust arrives, concluded Fielding.