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Heartland hopes to begin construction this fall


Fri, Jun 13th, 2003
Posted in Features

Bob Maust, president of Heartland Energy & Recycling, LLC says that he hopes to begin construction of his proposed energy plant this fall as soon as all permits are issued. Heartland is presently awaiting an Air Permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency which could be issued sometime in July. The Citizens Board of the MPCA is expected to take up the matter at their meeting on July 8. Maust also says that he is working with a Dallas, Texas firm to ready taxable revenue bonds for sale to investors. It is expected that up to 80% of the estimated $45 million construction costs will come from this revenue source. The life of the bonds would be for 10 years. According to Maust, the timing is good as the low interest rates benefit Heartland.Heartland will process approximately 10 million tires yearly using fluid bed technology which will convert the fuel into steam which will generate electricity. The electricity will then be sold on the grid.While Maust is making final preparations for construction, one CEO of a tire processing facility in Minnesota doubts that Heartland can make it financially without state subsidies. “The industry (recycled tires) is staying away from tire derived fuel facilities unless a company has the inside track with government to get it subsidized,” said Monte Niemi, CEO of First State Tire Recycling. “Tire recyclers are focused on sustainable markets.”Niemi notes that the Ford Heights, Illinois plant that Maust was affiliated with outside of Chicago wasn’t economical without state subsidies, and when another operator tried to run the plant without a public subsidy it closed. But Maust discounts Niemi’s criticism, saying that Niemi doesn’t understand the tire-derived fuel energy industry.“First State Tire Recyclers collect tires, grade off the good ones, and sell them to third world countries; they shred the rest,” Maust said. “His operations are very different than what we are trying to do.”Maust said that Heartland will not need any subsidies.“We have energy contracts that are good for 10 years or more, Maust said. “These are good contracts. We’re not looking for any government handouts.” Niemi also says that there is a misconception that there is an excess supply of used tires for recycling in Minnesota. He notes that the tires processed annually by companies in Minnesota already exceed the supply of approximately 4,000,000 tires available in the state on a yearly basis. Niemi fears that 10 million more tires will put undo demand on a limited resource and force up the price of raw materials. He says Heartland would have to import tires from out of state to meet the demand in Preston. “The biggest cost in terms of volume is transportation,” Niemi said. “And you’re (Heartland) going to ship it to an out of the way community (Preston).” Maust doesn’t see Heartland having any problem getting a hold of tires as he expects that there are enough tires in the upper Midwest to meet their demand. SEMEP vs. MPCAMeanwhile, the Journal has learned that local environmental group SEMEP is expected to file a lawsuit in Third District Court in the next two weeks challenging the decision by the MPCA not to require an Environmental Impact Statement on the Heartland project.But Maust is not deterred. He said that he does not see legal action between SEMEP and the MPCA delaying Heartland’s plans for construction.“That is with the MPCA, not with us,” Maust said. “We will definitely start construction this year.”If plans go according to schedule, the 20 megawatt plant could be operating sometime in 2005.



By John TorgrimsonBob Maust, president of Heartland Energy & Recycling, LLC says that he hopes to begin construction of his proposed energy plant this fall as soon as all permits are issued. Heartland is presently awaiting an Air Permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency which could be issued sometime in July. The Citizens Board of the MPCA is expected to take up the matter at their meeting on July 8. Maust also says that he is working with a Dallas, Texas firm to ready taxable revenue bonds for sale to investors. It is expected that up to 80% of the estimated $45 million construction costs will come from this revenue source. The life of the bonds would be for 10 years. According to Maust, the timing is good as the low interest rates benefit Heartland.Heartland will process approximately 10 million tires yearly using fluid bed technology which will convert the fuel into steam which will generate electricity. The electricity will then be sold on the grid.While Maust is making final preparations for construction, one CEO of a tire processing facility in Minnesota doubts that Heartland can make it financially without state subsidies. “The industry (recycled tires) is staying away from tire derived fuel facilities unless a company has the inside track with government to get it subsidized,” said Monte Niemi, CEO of First State Tire Recycling. “Tire recyclers are focused on sustainable markets.”Niemi notes that the Ford Heights, Illinois plant that Maust was affiliated with outside of Chicago wasn’t economical without state subsidies, and when another operator tried to run the plant without a public subsidy it closed. But Maust discounts Niemi’s criticism, saying that Niemi doesn’t understand the tire-derived fuel energy industry.“First State Tire Recyclers collect tires, grade off the good ones, and sell them to third world countries; they shred the rest,” Maust said. “His operations are very different than what we are trying to do.”Maust said that Heartland will not need any subsidies.“We have energy contracts that are good for 10 years or more, Maust said. “These are good contracts. We’re not looking for any government handouts.” Niemi also says that there is a misconception that there is an excess supply of used tires for recycling in Minnesota. He notes that the tires processed annually by companies in Minnesota already exceed the supply of approximately 4,000,000 tires available in the state on a yearly basis. Niemi fears that 10 million more tires will put undo demand on a limited resource and force up the price of raw materials. He says Heartland would have to import tires from out of state to meet the demand in Preston. “The biggest cost in terms of volume is transportation,” Niemi said. “And you’re (Heartland) going to ship it to an out of the way community (Preston).” Maust doesn’t see Heartland having any problem getting a hold of tires as he expects that there are enough tires in the upper Midwest to meet their demand. SEMEP vs. MPCAMeanwhile, the Journal has learned that local environmental group SEMEP is expected to file a lawsuit in Third District Court in the next two weeks challenging the decision by the MPCA not to require an Environmental Impact Statement on the Heartland project.But Maust is not deterred. He said that he does not see legal action between SEMEP and the MPCA delaying Heartland’s plans for construction.“That is with the MPCA, not with us,” Maust said. “We will definitely start construction this year.”If plans go according to schedule, the 20 megawatt plant could be operating sometime in 2005.







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