Energy Company Demands Landfill Gas

     CONCORD, N.H. (CN) – A renewable energy company says landfill managers are thwarting its plans to recover gas excreted by bacteria at a New Hampshire dump. Commonwealth Bethlehem Energy wants to convert the gas into electricity, and claims it had a deal to do it.

     In its federal complaint, Commonwealth claims that in 1998 North Country Environmental Services granted it exclusive rights to recover gas from the landfill in Bethlehem, N.H.
     Commonwealth says that at first the generating station was not feasible, so it operated a leachate project at the landfill from 2000 until 2007. Then in 2008 it showed North Country a proposal to develop an electricity station on part of the landfill site.
North Country signaled that it would approve the proposal, then changed course, under the pretense that it conflicted with its expansion plans, Commonwealth says.
But Commonwealth says the expansion application was for areas apart from the generating site, so it concluded that North Country did not intend to approve any plan. This was confirmed when North Country turned down a new site plan lying within the originally contracted area and outside of the landfill footprint or expansion zone, Commonwealth claims.
Commonwealth says it was forced to enter into a separate agreement with a couple who own neighboring property. This plan involves running a 125-foot pipe onto the private land, to deliver gas from there.
North Country failed to approve or acknowledge either proposal, the complaint states. Since the gas must be consumed as it is produced, Commonwealth says, it has lost income.
Commonwealth seeks a declaration stating that it requires no approval for either project, and would not owe North Country any sublessee payments if it develops the gas project on neighboring property. It is represented by Andrew Serell.

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