Jackson County Incinerator may close; 33 people out of work - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Jackson County "Incinerator" may close; 33 people out of work

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)- It seems as though the battle to keep Jackson County's Resource Recovery Facility open has come to a disappointing end. As our media partner MLive Jackson reported the facility may close this fall. Workers of the facility were issued a memo Friday morning telling them to "begin preparing to shut down the facility after Sept. 30."

The facility, also called "the Incinerator," produces electricity and steam for the prisons in Jackson. In fact, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) is its biggest customer. However, the MDOC is terminating that agreement effective Oct. 1.

"We can produce the energy to run those facilities - the steam and electricity - ourselves at a more cost effective rate," said Russell Marlan, public information officer for the MDOC.

According to Marlan, the MDOC will save $1.5 million a year producing their own energy as well as purchasing some from Consumers Energy.

"I do not agree with their analysis that they can produce steam for less than we can," said Mike Overton, Jackson County Administrator.

Overton says the County presented the MDOC with a counteroffer for what he believes is an unbeatable price.

"We will produce steam or sell them steam for the price that they will pay for the natural gas to run the boiler to produce their own steam," Overton said.

The "Incinerator" has been operating for more than 25 years. Jackson resident David Thornsbury owns a construction business and has dumped his waste at the facility since it opened. He says he is a loyal customer because it's less expensive than area-landfills.

"It's usually somewhere between $12 and $14 and the other local places are somewhere around $30," Thornsbury said.

The memo distributed to the 33 employees of the facility also urged them not to lose hope and Overton agrees. He says it's not September, yet, there's still time. To keep the Incinerator operating, Overton says all they need is a viable customer and he's hoping the MDOC reconsiders the County's offer.

Jackson County residents are, too.

Thornsbury says if the Incinerator closes and he has to haul his garbage to a landfill, he'll inevitably pay more to dump it.

"It's certainly going to increase my price and reduce my profits," Thornsbury said.

And come October, 33 people in Jackson will be out of work.




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