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Yavorski’s trash-to-energy plant at same crossroads in Colorado as it once was in Mason City

This news story was published on January 28, 2013.
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Joe Yavorski presents his plan for a trash-to-energy plant to the North Iowa Landfill in 2011.

Joe Yavorski presents his plan for a trash-to-energy plant to the North Iowa Landfill in 2011.

Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

It must feel like deja vu for Joe Yavorski.

Yavorski and his company, sometimes known as Creative Energy Systems (CES), other times referred to as Energy Recovery Specialists (ERS), continue to fight on to build a trash-to-energy plant after being denied here in North Iowa earlier last year.

Yavorski has even built a new website for his endeavor, although there’s not much on it.

After losing a very close battle in North Iowa to get his first trash-to-energy plant built, Yavorski is at the same crossroads in Fort Morgan, Colorado as he once was in Mason City.

The Fort Morgan Brush Tribune reported on January 16th that the Fort Morgan City Council had signed a memorandum of understanding with Yavorski’s CES to build a “waste-to-energy plant as soon as in 2014 that would create 40-60 new jobs.”

This was similar rhetoric to what we heard in Mason City, where Yavorksi and Rod Flores of CES-ERS proposed a plant that would employ about 50 people.  The Mason City Council that took office in 2012 was tentatively in agreement with the proposed plant, and using all of the political capitol Mayor Eric Bookmeyer could muster, sent City Administrator Brent Trout and City Councilman Scott Tornquist to fight for approval at the North Iowa Landfill Board.  Bookmeyer called the project “exciting” … a consultant said CES-ERS financials “didn’t pass the sniff test.


Rod Flores and Joe Yavorski attend a Mason City Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting. They got approval there, but with 30 conditions.

CES-ERS faces similar obstacles in Fort Morgan as it did here in North Iowa, where a range of boards and commissions at several levels must approve the plant.  Ultimately, the trash-to-energy plant failed in Mason City when the North Iowa Landfill Board narrowly voted against partnering with Yavorski and ERS.  Bookmeyer had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this deal, but his political capitol failed him miserably.

Yavorski and Flores (and City Hall), in their attempt to sell the project here in North Iowa, had touted a trash-to-energy plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin as a development that was moving forward using the same technology as the proposed plant in Mason City.

But, the Green Bay City Council later pulled the project’s permits, and the developer, Oneida Seven Generations Corporation, sued the city to have the permit restored.

It was reported on January 9th by Fox 11 News in Green Bay that a judge has upheld the Green Bay City Council’s decision to pull the project’s permit and it appears the plant might never be built.

“Some (Green Bay) city council members felt mislead by the initial plans, which among other things did not include smoke stacks,” Fox 11 reported.  The final plans did include smokestacks and a community uproar ensued.

Another supposed crowning achievement that Yavorski and his North Iowa backers had touted was a partnership between CES and Lockheed Martin on a $2 billion project in Antarctica.

A smug Eric Bookmeyer waits for his victory at a North Iowa Landfill Board meeting last year.  That victory never came.

A smug Eric Bookmeyer waits for his victory at a North Iowa Landfill Board meeting last year. That victory never came.

Thanks to a January 2nd, 2012 story in the Globe Gazette trumpeting this partnership (prior to the ill-fated vote at the landfill) countless other media publications ran with the story and announced that Yavorski’s CES would be working in Antarctica with Lockheed on this major project.  The Globe Gazette seemed to base their January 2nd story only on an interview with Yavorski.  It now appears the Globe Gazette pulled the January 2nd story from their website.  On January 4th, 2012, the Globe wrote what was essentially a retraction, coming clean and writing that Yavorski was actually still negotiating with Lockheed to be a part of the Antarctica project and nothing was final.

This weekend and today, I was able to speak with Lindsay Wilson, a Senior Communications Representative  – who has been with with Lockheed Martin for over 5 years – and ask her to confirm any involvement between CES and Lockheed Martin in the Antarctica project.

After checking, Wilson called my office Monday morning to confirm that in the end, CES has absolutely no involvement with Lockheed’s Antarctica project.

Good luck in Colorado, Joe.  If it works out there and turns out to be safe and a benefit to the Fort Morgan community, come back and see us.


Judge rules for Green Bay in trash-to-energy lawsuit

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6 Responses to Yavorski’s trash-to-energy plant at same crossroads in Colorado as it once was in Mason City

  1. Avatar

    Sandra Servantez Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I believe everyone that fought against this company had the prescience to know that it would have been a albatross for this community and the taxpayers.
    I did fight hard along with others to keep this company out of Mason City. I never said I wasn’t willing to look at a company like this. What I said, is that I didn’t trust what the company reps. were saying. To many word changes and building changes in mid-stream. I am not going to say I told you so. What I am going to say I am glad that the landfill made the right decision and myself and others worked hard to put Mason City money and community first.

  2. Avatar

    4ever49 Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 9:16 am

    As I recall this proposed project, the equipment, supposedly proven, was coming from a manufacturer in Korea.
    Approvals were needed from the City of Mason City, the Landfill of North Iowa, state DNR & EPA. The City approved, with conditions and the Landfill board denied the project delivery of solid waste. I don’t think it proceeded to the DNR or EPA level.
    As to the Mayor spending his political capital – I think that is off the mark in that his “capital” is only good within the City. For entities outside its boundaries it is virtually non-existent. That said, I think it failed simply because the other entities on the board controlled a resource, which, if provided to the project, only benefited employment in Mason City.
    As to passing the “sniff test”, the casual observer if not well positioned to come up with a solid opinion. Rather, the investor/lender was the one taking the risk – as they should. If their “sniff test” came up negative the project was a dead duck as well. However, it never progressed far enough politically for them to take a run at its viability.

  3. Avatar

    50 miles south Reply Report comment

    January 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    IM not sure how the trash to energy plant was to work in Mason but something like this was in Iowa Falls in the late 80s early 90s. funded by government money, as I was told. It failed twice with different managers. In this case the garbage came into a building. plastic, metal, glass, ect was hand sorted out and recycled. while the remainder was compressed into large oblong brown pellets. (guess what they looked like) these pellets could be burned like fuel. sounds like a good proposition. In reality, as I was told by an owner of a similar buisness, the people involved were interested as long as the government money held out. create a buisness and milk the gov money. Not saying this was the case in MC. the Iowa Falls plant employed around 10 workers, roughly

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Dae arr honing they sales pitch!

  5. Avatar

    iced tea Reply Report comment

    January 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks, Matt. I think the first trash to energy plant should be built by a company that employs scientists and has a long history with energy projects. Yavorski is a computer guy who does this as a sideline. He said when he was working in Mason City that he had to take days off from his job to come here to push his project.

  6. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    January 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Many thanks to you Matt for Information that would never have reached the public through the puppet gazette and saved our community from this disaster.