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Good Earth Power has made various commitments and projections since it took over the largest contract in the Four Forest Restoration Initiative two years ago. Here are a few of them with an update on how they are progressing.

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  • According to Good Earth Power’s initial projections, outlined in a technical plan submitted to the Forest Service in 2014, the company would be thinning 45,000 acres per year in 2015. According to Forest Service reports, the company had mechanically thinned 1,470 acres so far in 2015. In all, it has thinned just 4,700 acres.
  • In an initial public presentation about the 4FRI project, the company committed to putting 50 percent of 4FRI profits back into community development. In a July interview, Good Earth Power AZ CEO Jason Rosamond said the company is still planning to make good on that promise, but before that can happen the company has to overcome “many many millions in losses.” The company made the first step in that direction in July when it turned profitable for the first time, Rosamond said.
  • The company initially said its long-term plan for the millions of tons of biomass it is required to remove from the forest is to turn that slash into biofuel. That goal is still on the table, Rosamond said in July. But another company, Concord Blue, which owns 30 percent of Good Earth Power AZ, will be spearheading the biofuels portion of the project and the timeline is up to that company at this point, Rosamond said.
  • A portion of the tree branches, needles and tree tops that Good Earth (Power AZ) harvests from the forest are currently being delivered to Novo BioPower’s biomass plant in Snowlake, where they are burned to produce electric power. Novo’s CEO Brad Worsley said he had hoped and expected Good Earth deliveries to make up 20 percent of the plant’s biomass inputs, but recent shipments have reached only one-tenth to one-third of that amount.

  • In a September interview, Rosamond said he is now projecting that Good Earth will be able to thin and process 45,000 acres by 2017. A crucial part of getting to that level is a $50 million mill that GEPAZ is planning to build in Williams that Rosamond said will process wood from about 27,000 acres each year. But Rosamond’s projections don’t fit a realistic timeline, said Kurtis Vaagen, a manager with Vaagen Brothers Lumber, which owns mills in Canada, Washington and Arizona. While it may take a year to build the mill, which is the timeline GEPAZ is projecting, it takes an average of two years for that type of mill to reach full capacity, Vaagen said. That would push GEP’s expectation for full-scale production, and acreage out to closer to 2019.
  • In 2013, Good Earth Power brought on The Campbell Group to manage timberland operations, saying the company “brings considerable experience in managing, tracking and producing large volumes of ground and chipped product as well.” In June, 2015 Campbell Global initiated a split from Good Earth for undisclosed reasons. Good Earth said it has hired its own timber experts to take over Campbell Global’s responsibilities.

Emery Cowan can be reached at (928) 556-2250 or ecowan@azdailysun.com

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Environment, Health and Science Reporter

Emery Cowan writes about science, health and the environment for the Arizona Daily Sun, covering everything from forest restoration to endangered species recovery efforts.

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