The Twin Cities are racking up the legal fees over their landfill dispute. While a number of issues have been resolved, there are still some unanswered questions, including an eco-friendly proposal still on the table.
It was last October that the bid for a new energy project was won by Bryan Texas Utilities. BTU has been ready to go with this energy saving deal for nearly a year, and there's still no movement.
The cities recently came to an agreement on contract issues with a second landfill in Grimes County that will be built in the coming years, as the landfill on Rock Prairie Road in College Station is running out of space. A suit filed by Bryan against College Station must still be worked out.
Now, imagine the Twin Cities planting more than 2,200 acres of trees each year for 15 years.
Or instead, in that same time, if Bryan and College Station magically made the emissions of more than 1,500 vehicles disappear.
Or instead, if every year for 15 years, nearly 1,800 homes could be powered.
That's what the City of Bryan and BTU says could happen with the project they won in the bidding on, but haven't started yet.
"We had all of our ducks in a row," said Gary Miller, a group manager at BTU. "We were ready."
Since October, BTU has been waiting to begin construction on generators at the Rock Prairie landfill of the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency. Currently, methane being emitted from acres of garbage is being flared off. With this new plan, for 15 years, the methane would be turned into power.
"It will flow directly to homes and commercial and industrial customers," Miller explained, saying not even a routing to the Dansby Power Plant near Lake Bryan is necessary.
"Our estimate is that it will take us approximately 18 months [to build], but had we been able to go forward at that point, it would have been 18 months from that time," Miller added.
That obviously hasn't happened. Even though BTU won the bid, College Station hasn't signed off on it, so the methane keeps on airing out.
There's also a cash incentive to all of this. The sale of the gas would earn BVSWMA nearly half a million dollars a year. The agency runs on a $4 million budget.
"We were somewhat disappointed it has taken this long," said Bryan's public works director, Linda Huff, "but through our mediation, we believe we are now on the right track."
Huff says the recent talks between the cities gives her hope a deal can get done sooner rather than later.
"It's a win for everyone," she said. "BVSWMA's going to get money. BVSWMA's not going to be polluting anymore, and BTU and their partner can benefit as well."
College Station officials said Thursday that with any deal, there are language issues in contracts and back-and-forth discussions, but they also believe the two sides will resolve this part of their rift.
Bryan leaders say they'll provide a newly-worded contract to College Station for review soon.