The company that hopes to build a trash-to-electricity plant in Clark County wants the state to give it a conditional construction permit before it gets the local zoning it needs.
Mike Musulin, the president of Kentucky Pioneer Energy, had prefiled testimony with the state Board on Electric Generation and Transmission Siting saying his company "has complied" with zoning regulations.
But in sometimes confusing testimony at a public hearing yesterday, he withdrew that testimony and admitted his company hasn't even applied for a zone change from agricultural to industrial use.
"The willingness to comply with the statute is what was conveyed," Musulin said.
It's unclear how that explanation will sit with the siting board. In April, the board turned down Pioneer's request for a construction permit and gave it six months to comply with local zoning.
All the company has done, Musulin testified, is met with zoning officials and scheduled a Sept. 24 meeting with the Clark Fiscal Court.
The siting board is expected to rule sometime after final written arguments are filed Sept. 19.
Musulin also withdrew his company's earlier assertion that it does not need to get local approval to build its plant. That was "a misunderstanding," he said.
The plant would turn coal and pelletized trash from New York into gas, which would be used to generate electricity.
The proposal has generated considerable opposition in Clark County.
Last month, the Clark Fiscal Court unanimously passed a resolution asking the state Public Service Commission to agree that the county has the final say on whether to allow in the New York trash. The trash "could severely impact the environment and economy," it said.
Musulin, a former president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said in an interview that his company needs the construction permit to keep the project going forward and to attract financing.
The gasification technology it would use represents "the future of the coal industry in Kentucky," he said.