[NEWS] Gypsum, CO Uses Eminent Domain for Riverfront Used by Biomass Facility
– by Jason Blevins, October 6, 2016, Denver Post
The Town of Gypsum is using its power of eminent domain to force the operator Colorado’s first biomass electric plant to sell 69 acres along the Eagle River that the town wants for open space, recreation and access for a future wastewater treatment plant.
The Gypsum Town Council in July approved an ordinance to acquire or condemn the property to compel Eagle Valley Clean Energy to negotiate the sale of the property. The town offered $506,000 and upped its offer to $800,000, but the company says the land is worth twice that.
“The courts provide a process for both sides to be heard for what they think the value of the ground is in an open market transaction,” said attorney Don Ostrander, an eminent domain specialist hired by the town to negotiate with the company.
This week the town filed a rare eminent domain petition to force a sale, marking the latest in an increasingly volatile relationship between the town and operator of the $60 million biomass plant, which burns beetle-killed trees and other forest waste to generate 11.5 megawatts of electricity an hour, enough to power 10,000 homes.