During last week's public meeting, the county commissioners voted to write a letter of support for a company planning to locate its facilities at the old Banning loadout near Sunnyside Junction.
"East Carbonics, a Sanpete County company, has found the fifth largest CO2 deposit in the nation near Sunnyside Junction," explained Dave Sorensen from the state manufacturing extension program. "It is in what is called the Farnum Dome and right now they are trying to activate two older wells and put in a third one."
Sorensen presented the proposal to Carbon commissioners along with county economic development director Delynn Fielding.
Once the CO2 is out of the ground and East Carbonics builds a processing plant, the company will directly employ three to five workers. However, possible spin off industries are also of particular interest the county.
Carbon dioxide is used in a variety of ways, affecting products from soda pop to refrigeration processes.
Because of the large amounts of carbon dioxide used in some items, it is cheaper to transport or manufacture products in the production area than it is to send the CO2 to plant sites. The situation could mean a number of industries moving to Carbon to utilize the natural resource.
The total bond would be for $8.6 million. But Commissioner Mike Milovich pointed out that the county has no obligation in the process.
"The county is not liable for these general obligation bonds," stated Milovich. "The county issues the bonds but the money comes from the state. This has a real upside to it, despite the fact initially it will be a small project."
Based on expected production the Farnum Dome area, Sorensen said the company will be tapping has an estimated 105-year supply of CO2.
"The company expects to produce 200 to 400 tons per day," stated Sorensen. "And they already have contracts signed to sell it all."
The agreement specifies that the county has to approve should the company be sold to another group or corporation.
"This is a very good idea," commented Commissioner Bill Krompel. "This would be the second CO2 plant in the county. And the bonds have proven successful here."
"Both East Carbon Development Corporation and the co-gen plant in Sunnyside were built with similar bonds," added Krompel..
Introducing an unrelated matter, Mary Ann Wright of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Minerals pointed out that Johnny Pappas was recently honored with an award for reclamation efforts at Hard Scrabble Canyon.
Hardscrabble was part of the Castle Gate-Willow Creek coal mine complex.
"In 20 years of giving awards, this is the best reclamation site we have seen," commented Wright.
"This is not a state award, but a national award. And it was picked the best of the best in the nation for this year as well," added the Utah DOGM representative.
Wright showed a nationally produced video program that outlined the winners.
Reclamation projects from Alabama, Wyoming, Texas and Illinois were all national award winners. But the local reclamation effort was considered the top project.
"It's the first time in 20 years that a coal mine reclamation in Utah has won," noted Wright. "It is the best of the best."