A marathon May 17 Kanab City Planning and Zoning meeting resulted in Jim Guthrie’s Viresco experimental coal gasification plant getting approval on its site plan, but the conditional use plan concerning the plant’s smoke stack was tabled.

While the Kanab Middle School meeting was packed, audience participation was not allowed (to facilitate the legal meeting), while the board considered many questions concerning both plans. Guthrie and the project engineer sat with the board to address questions concerning their plans. P&Z member Tom Avant recused himself during the discussion and votes due to a conflict of interest.

City Attorney Van Mackelprang presented a chronological log of three P&Z meetings on the issue. A representative of TC Engineering said there are two planned retention areas. One will retain all the water that is treated, released or taken somewhere.

“What we would like to do with the retention water would be to reuse it,” said Guthrie. (After state testing allows it.) “This is run-off water, not production water.”

The validated plan is for a 20-30 day initial operation. (That means up to 30 burning days a year.)

“The initial Department of Energy grant only allows us to test (burn) for 30 days,” said Guthrie. He made it clear that while they were under small source permits in the beginning, they would seek a larger permit thereafter. Guthrie explained the air quality permit is only for a small source permit. “We would have to go back to the state for a large range permit.”

P&Z zoning member Terril Honey expressed concern with the new numbers presented. “In my opinion if you apply for any other increase in use, you still should come back to us.”

Guthrie stressed that the P&Z was not the regulatory authority of air emissions. “We want our site plan to meet for full scale,” said Guthrie, (as long as they meet with state requirements.)

When questioned, Guthrie said that his goal was to be a 90 day burn plan.

Joe B. Wright had issues with the fencing enclosure around the project. Jim Sorenson questioned the project with city ordinances.

Honey and Sorensen said that they had understood that answers to the questions presented to Planing and Zoning were supposed to be answered by a third party, not Mr. Guthrie, even though they were grateful for his responses. Chairman Arlon Chamberlain said that he was also under the impression, that answers would come from an outside source.

No real answer to that.

Member Bob Hubbard expressed frustration over whether there would be any managerial oversite by the city on the project, if it was approved.

“I picked Kanab, because I feel like it (the plant) would be beneficial for the city,” explained Guthrie.

A third party will be consulted to have the conditional use permit concerns addressed.