Business

Try, try again, says Pasco's Green Power

PASCO – Green Power of Pasco wants to turn over a new leaf.

The company, which says it can make high-quality fuels from solid municipal waste, recently was evicted from its leased premises at the Big Pasco Industrial Center for defaulting on rent after its landlord – the Port of Pasco – won a court judgment.

Green Power also owes Rich-land’s American Electric more than $500,000, according to a court order. In June, Green Power also was fined $24,000 by the state Department of Ecology for building a synthetic fuel reactor without the proper air quality permit.

That’s past, said CEO Michael Spitzauer, who tried several years ago to build a garbage-to-diesel plant in Fife. He got a notification Wednesday from the federal Environmental Protection Agency that will help him take care of compliance issues with the state, which ordered his plant shut in August 2009 for not having a permit to prove it isn’t violating air quality regulations.

“It’s a major victory,” said Spitzauer, who’s in Seattle and says he’s battling serious health problems.

Spitzauer said he has worked out a settlement with American Electric and wants the port to renegotiate a lease with him.

He said he was supposed to meet with the port commission Thursday to present his case but can’t because of his health and wants the port to postpone the meeting.

That’s his second request for a delay, said Jim Toomey, the port’s executive director. It is for port commissioners to decide if they want to consider Spitzauer’s request and keep the property off the market.

The port told Spitzauer more than two weeks ago that it will consider his request only when he pays back rent and penalties totaling more than $100,000, presents documentary evidence of dispute resolution with American Electric and has a current Pasco business license.

Spitzauer said he has sales orders for the firm’s patented system lined up and plans to hire 200 workers in the next 45 days.

Green Power claims it manufactures equipment that can convert 100 tons of garbage into 12,000 gallons of diesel fuel at 78 cents a gallon.

It’s not easy running a business without government subsidies, he said to explain his repeated problems. He said he didn’t show up in court to defend himself against American or the port because he wasn’t trying to find a legal loophole to wriggle out of his liabilities.

“I owed them money and planned to pay them back,” he said.

He said he plans to repay American Electric in less than a year. Jose Gonzalez, owner of American Electric, who can seize Green Powers’ assets under a March court order, said he has been talking with Spitzauer.

“He seems positive,” he said. “I don’t want to end up owning the equipment, which can only be sold as scrap. It’s better to get cash.”

Gonzalez said he is prepared to wait and see without committing too much. It’s possible Spitzauer, who had a heart attack last year, may have some contracts, Gonzalez said.

Spitzauer said he is excited about his upcoming sales, mostly to foreign agencies. He would like to start work as soon as he’s able.

In October 2006, Spitzauer announced plans to construct an $82 million garbage-to-diesel plant on private property inside the Puyallup Tribe of Indians reservation.

A month later, The News Tribune reported several problems with the proposed project.

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