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Municipalities sign on with Taylor Biomass Energy USA


At least seven Orange County municipalities have now signed 20-year contracts to truck their household trash to Taylor Biomass Energy once the company builds and opens its planned garbage gasification plant in Montgomery.

Since November, the towns of Cornwall and New Windsor and villages of Goshen, Walden, Montgomery and Cornwall-on-Hudson have joined the City of Newburgh as future customers for Taylor Biomass after resolving legal questions they had shared.

'Still a work in progress'
Jim Taylor, the company's president and CEO, had long counted on securing the waste from Orange County's three county-owned transfer stations, but began taking his pitch elsewhere last year when that deal became uncertain.

Talks with the county ended in August, when County Executive Ed Diana insisted on an escape clause in any 20-year contract.

At that stage, the City of Newburgh was the only guaranteed customer for Taylor's plant. City officials contracted in July to send Newburgh's household waste to Taylor Biomass and pay $66 per ton; the city now spends $85 a ton to dump at a county transfer station in the Town of Newburgh.

The gasification plant, which would be built behind Taylor's recycling business on Neelytown Road, is touted as an alternative to landfill dumping that would dispose of organic waste by heating it into a gas that would be used to generate 24 megawatts of electricity.

Site work and preliminary construction began in December 2010, but the $145 million venture continues to face obstacles. Sen. Charles Schumer, an enthusiastic supporter, said Wednesday that Taylor still must secure private funding to qualify for the $100 million federal loan guarantee he has sought since 2009.

"He's gotten some private money that supports him, but he needs a big loan, and I've made a few calls for him, here, there and everywhere," Schumer said during a meeting with the Times Herald-Record editorial board. "But he's still working on it. Still a work in progress."

Wins stay to continue project
In September, a state Supreme Court judge invalidated the project's permits and approvals. The company has since appealed that decision and won a stay allowing construction to continue.

Taylor, who didn't return calls for comment last week, has said previously that he's working with Town of Montgomery officials to correct procedural flaws identified in the judge's ruling.

The company plans to process 500 tons of municipal waste per day, plus 550 daily tons of construction and demolition debris and waste wood. Contracting with Orange County would have fulfilled the municipal-waste quota.

The Department of Energy, which issues loan guarantees for alternative energy projects, had required Taylor to secure long-term waste commitments in advance to ensure the business would be viable.

By Chris Mckenna, The Times Herald-Record

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