Carbon capture plant progresses

Cemetery ‘race track’ getting shut down

Ector County commissioners Tuesday took a preliminary step toward facilitating the installation of a carbon capture plant at Penwell near the $6.5-billion to $7-billion gasoline manufacturing plant on which construction is scheduled to begin late this year or early next year.

The court unanimously authorized Judge Debi Hays to sign a memorandum of understanding with the New York City-based financial consultancy firm of Duff & Phelps for the multinational company’s clients to conduct Project CTV with the name of the company that will own the plant to stay confidential for now.

Wesley Burnett, director of economic development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, had said the site 15 miles west of Odessa off I-20 was only one of those being considered for the proposal.

Burnett said the availability of land at Penwell and the presence of numerous pipelines there make the area conducive to energy industry development.

The 2,600-acre Nacero Inc. complex where natural gas will be converted into gasoline has been granted generous property tax abatements by Ector County and other local entities.

Hays had said Monday that the CTV Project and Nacero “will complement each other and they will both create jobs.”

Carbon capture entails taking carbon dioxide emissions from sources like coal-fired power plants and either reusing or storing them so that they don’t enter the atmosphere.

In other Tuesday business, the commissioners heard Public Works Director Evans Kessey’s report that some motorists are using the 300 S. Dixie Blvd. county cemetery “like a race track,” but rather than install speed bumps they opted to repair a fence and close off the area that’s being used as a shortcut to another street.

The court also:

>> Approved County Agent Steve Paz’ appointment of Alexis Ruch, a resident of Jackson, Mo., who graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau last August, to serve as the shared Ector-Midland County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, starting June 1.

>> Accepted a $1,000 donation from Allora Hair Salon for the sheriff’s office.

>> OK’d using the sheriff’s commissary account to buy Motorola radio equipment from the RTC Co.

>> Approved sheriff’s information technology specialist Steve White’s request to repair radio dishes and antennas at the Notrees and Penwell towers that were damaged by the mid-February ice storm.

>> Decided to pay a $2,700 membership fee and join the National Association of Counties after Hays said the membership would aid in the receipt of federal money.

>> Voted to begin 2021-22 budget deliberations in early August.

>> Awarded a contract for jail medical mobile imaging services to TridentCare for $85 per test.

>> Approved Human Resources Director Donna James’ proposed inclement weather emergency closing and evacuation policy.

>> Voted to sell the county’s property at 218 Park for $50,000, which Hays said was less than the property’s market value and less than the total amount of judgments against it.

>> OK’d a $106,527 budget amendment to the coliseum capital improvement fund to effect the purchase of a Zamboni ice rink-smoothing machine with $28,000 of the cost being paid by insurance and with the county’s actual expense to be $78,527.