Robert Orndorff (left) Dominion executive,
meets with Tom Degen, executive director of Cabot
Recycling, regarding effort to save the center
By Bob Weaver
Calhoun and regional communities continued this week with a major effort to save Cabot Recycling in Grantsville from being closed.
Dominion Resources advised the recycling center they are exercising a cancellation clause in a 99-year-lease issued in 2002, with intentions to sell the property.
Friday, Robert Orndorff, Senior Policy Advisor with Dominion Resources and and Christine Mitchell from Services 6 of Dominion, visited the recycling station just west of Grantsville, the center operated by the Calhoun County Solid Waste Authority (CCSWA).
Tom Degen, Executive Director of the center said Dominion has terminated the 99-year lease it had so generously given the CCSWA for the use of the old Cabot Compressor Station and put the property up for sale.
CCSWA has countered by asking Dominion to either donate the building to the authority or to continue to honor the 99-year lease.
"While we appreciate Dominion's past generosity, we feel somewhat betrayed by this action," said executive director Degen.
"We have put a lot of money into this facility over the years, and if we are forced to leave, the operation will most likely shut down, leaving a four county area without any recycling options," he said.
Orndorff and Mitchell came with other local Dominion personnel to inspect the building and listen to CCSWA's case first-hand presented by the board, the Calhoun Commission and community members.
Orndorff said on arrival that he felt that Dominion was being portrayed as the "evil empire."
Degen countered by saying, "The last thing we want to do is portray Dominion as such. We would genuinely like to portray Dominion as supporting the community in which they operate."
CCSWA launched an online petition which has gathered 500 signatures and the Calhoun County Commission has passed a resolution in support of CCSWA's effort.
The building and its site has a lot of local history, over 100 years ago it was the location of the world's largest carbon black factory built by Godfrey L. Cabot.
It was then the longtime site for a compressor station, which is remembered being destroyed by a deadly explosion in 1945.
Degen said the building is in poor shape and the site is on the floodplain, with extensive water-filled trenches with pipes under the building, in addition to a number of pressurized gas transmission lines crossing the property.
The CCSWA has spent about $100,000 improving the building to operate the center.
Recycling is sporadically funded by the state, and Dominion's generous lease has enabled Cabot Recycling to blossom and serve not only Calhoun County, but surrounding counties whose recycling centers have closed.
Degen said Mr. Orndorff said he would "Plead our case for us to his superiors, but could not offer any assurances as to how he would be received."
"It is totally up to Dominion as to how they are portrayed," Degen said.
"We hope that Dominion will continue to support this vital piece of the infrastructure in the community in which they operate," Degen said.
See related stories CALHOUN COMMISSION PASSES RESOLUTION TO SAVE CABOT RECYCLING
CABOT RECYCLING CENTER FACING CLOSURE - Dominion Cancels 99 Year Lease, Public Support Needed
PETITION TO SAVE CABOT RECYCLING