Correction, Aug. 17, Richland seeks a loan not a grant for its sewer line extension. The Observer regrets the error.

Atlas Agro will have toilets for its proposed green fertilizer plant if the city of Richland receives a loan for a $4 million sewer project. The Richland City Council will approve the loan application at its meeting tonight. The city has already promised the plant millions of dollars in tax breaks.

Missing in the plan is the 280 megawatts of new nuclear power that company representatives have said they need to power the plant.

Atlas Ago representatives told the Tri-City Herald that the company intends to begin operation in 2027. The plan apparently rests on the construction of small, modular nuclear reactors near the Energy Northwest nuclear reactor.

The nuclear engineer, who lives with me and worked for 35 years planning and building nuclear power plants with Bechtel Corporation, believes most of the above is laughable. He does have faith that the city can build a sewer line.

More details on the loan are provided below.

Meanwhile the Richland City Council will also sell off more parkland adjacent to the Keene Road Trail. Ironically, the contract for this sale includes provisions for maintaining nearby property which remains with the city.

The inability to enforce a maintenance agreement with the property owners at 120 Keene is given as a reason for selling the park property there to one of them.

Details on all of the above and more are available in the packet for the meeting. The meeting can be viewed live at Richland City Hall at 6 pm or on Cable Channel 192 or streamed at Richland City View.

The Meeting Begins

1. Police Chief Brigit Clary swears in new Richland Police Officer Adam Morin

2. Attendance Awareness Month Proclamation – declaring that good attendance in school is essential to student achievement and progress toward graduation.

3. Council recognizes the American Heart Association’s Award, the Heart Attack Honor Roll, to the Fire and Emergency Services Department

Public Hearing – There are no public hearings scheduled.

Public Comments – Residents have two minutes to talk about anything they wish. Speakers can ask that they receive an answer or answers to questions as soon as possible.

Consent Calendar No discussion and one vote for all of these.

4. Approval of Aug. 2 city council special meeting minutes

5. The municipal code will be amended to issue limited commissions to certain Richland employees such as the city’s park ranger and civilian code enforcement officers. This will help the Richland Police Department become an accredited law enforcement agency.

6. Richland will add three locations to its list of high visibility locations where camping isn’t allowed – 505 Swift Boulevard, 515 George Washington Way and Richland Fire Station No.71. There are all kinds of details on how this conforms to federal law included in the information for this newly amended ordinance. Check the packet for details.

7. Richland will agree to reimburse Benton County 38% of actual costs for design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction at the intersection to Bermuda Road and Reata Road to accommodate development at Badger Mt. South. The work is currently estimated at $512,471.42. The Richland funds will come from traffic impact fees.

8. Authorizing a $60,000 change order for Big D’s Construction for the Leslie Road Stormwater Treatment Retrofits project.

9. Authorizing a $59,572 change order for C&E Trenching LLC for the Hains Ave. Goethals Drive Stormwater quality retrofit.

10. Rajbir Sandhu (Heavy 2 LLC), the owner of a gas stations and convenience store at 999 Queensgate, is purchasing 7,693 sq. ft. adjacent to the Keene Road Trail from the city for $34,769. This is the second piece of property adjacent to the trail that the city has been negotiating to sell to adjacent property owners.

The ironical part of this agreement is the property maintenance and use agreement for landscaping the property remaining under city ownership. This city is selling other property adjacent to the Keene Road Trail at 120 Keene because the city was having a hard time enforcing the maintenance agreement there.

11. July expenditures, a list of checks, will be approved.

Items of Business — this one will have a discussion (such as they are) and a vote.

Atlas Agro will have toilets even if it doesn’t have the 280 megawatts of energy it says it needs to begin carbon-free fertilizer production. The city council will vote to authorize a contingency agreement with Atlas Agro North America for a Community Economic Revitalization Board Sewer Project Loan. The city will apply for a low-interest loan (1%-3%) from the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Community Economic Revitalization Board for $4 million. The 5000 linear feet of 24-inch sewer line will serve the 1,341-acre industrial park commonly known as the North Horn Rapids Industrial Park and is scheduled to be operational in 2024.

The loan requires a commitment through a contingency agreement with a private business.

Atlas Agro plans to begin operating a $1.1 billion carbon-free fertilizer production plant in 2027.

According to a March 8, 2023, article in the Tri-City Herald, the plant will require 280 Megawatts of new nuclear power to fuel its operations. The project developers did not provide additional details. The plan appears to depend on the construction of small, modular nuclear reactors near the Energy Northwest Reactor.

City Manager and City Council comments

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