DA to ask for consultant to assist with ASG

DAYTON -- In answer to a court decision negating revocation of a gas manufacturing plant's operating permit, Dayton County officials on Thursday will consider hiring another specialist to assist with their legal fight.

Lyon County District Attorney Leon Aberasturi on Monday said the new consultant is needed to help review statements and evidence introduced at a previous hearing on Advanced Specialty Gases.

"If we have to go back to a hearing it might be good to have one (consultant) on board and ready to go," Aberasturi said. "Due to the time constraints, we will have to spend some money so they are in place. Time is of the essence."

The county is appealing a court decision overturning its October 2001 revocation of the plant's special-use permit. Attorney Keith Loomis has been directed to negotiate with plant officials for a possible settlement.

The county will hold the hearing in December if their appeal of the court order fails and a negotiated settlement with the plant is not reached.

In June 2001, the county agreed to pay SECOR International $50,000 to pursue the investigation into Advanced Specialty Gases.

Aberasturi said he has approached other firms on the original list to submit estimated costs for the new services and expects to hear from them within the next week.

"SECOR basically looked at the mechanical aspects of the operation. The new consultant would review employee statements and all other evidence introduced at the hearing," he said.

The nitrogen trifluoride manufacturing plant has been closed since a July 2000 explosion in the distillation processing room. Hydrogen fluoride, a potentially dangerous gas, is used in the process, but was not involved in the incident.

Following a three-day public hearing last October, commissioners approved a 24-point motion to revoke the permit.

Advanced Specialty Gases sued the county for $5 million and asked the court to overturn the decision. On Aug. 27, Judge David Huff issued an opinion stating the reasons for revocation were not valid and ordered the county to pursue negotiations with the plant or hold another revocation hearing.

Lyon County Commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Administrative Complex, 27 S. Main St., Yerington.


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