As early as September, Mason City Mayor Eric Bookmeyer called the controversial Creative Energy Systems (CES) waste to energy project “exciting” and had already “developed a high level of interest… to usher this project through to completion.”
He wrote those words in a September 27th, 2011 letter to the Landfill of North Iowa and other officials.
Since September, the project has grew into a firestorm of controversy in Mason City, as citizens concerned about the possible health repercussions of the project have gained momentum, and much new information and many new concerns about the project have come to light.
(PHOTO: City Administrator Brent Trout and Mayor Eric Bookmeyer at last week’s City Council meeting.)
As the CES plant would be one-of-a-kind, the debate has raged as to whether or not the CES plant would emit dioxins or other poisons into the air. Those against the plant have put in hundreds of hours of research time, made presentations, and brought in petitions signed by Mason City citizens with concerns about the project.
The Mason City Zoning Board of Adjustment has not yet been sold on the idea either, as that board has postponed a decision twice on granting a conditional use permit to the company.
Also since September, a public forum was held where the city brought in an “expert” on gasification, the public was allowed to speak and ask questions of CES and city officials, and Iowa DNR officials attended and answered questions.
As one person put it, “as more questions get answered, more questions get raised.”
On September 27, 2011, Mayor Eric Bookmeyer presented the following letter to the North Iowa Landfill, which in Bookmeyer’s words “was engaged from the very beginning on this project” and whose operations would be “significantly alter(ed).”
At this time, the CES gasification project is in the hands of the Mason City Zoning Board of Adjustment, which could make a ruling at a December 20th meeting. At that meeting, the board hopes to hear an opinion from the Cerro Gordo County Board of Health as to whether they feel the plant will be safe.