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TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. >> The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency governing board has agreed to cover $1,500 in European travel expenses if board member David Gordon visits two biotech sorting facilities that turn solid waste into fuel for manufacturing facilities.

The site visits were discussed at a board meeting Wednesday, when Gordon noted he was already planning a personal trip to Holland in June for a Velo-City bicycle conference and would add stops in England and Italy to review facilities similar to those proposed for use by the county.

“They do have a facility in (Chieti) Italy … that would be pretty close to the scale that we’d be looking at if we were to do the three-county consortium,” he said.

Gordon said the facility in Westbury, England, is designed to handle material in the same way that has been proposed for the agency.

“That is a county-owned facility … run by a private entity, so that’s probably a very, very useful one for us to look at,” he said.

“One of the advantages of going to England … is that I speak English,” Gordon said. “I’d essentially be able to go into town … and (ask) ‘is that thing working?’”

Agency officials have suggested working with adjacent counties to develop either a landfill or solid waste disposal facility as an alternative to hauling material to central New York.

The facilities in Europe were built by the parent company of Entsorga North America, which has met with both agency officials and the county Solid Waste Management Improvement Commission in separate meetings during the past six months.

Entsorga is an Italian-based company that has seven facilities in Europe and one under construction in Martinsburg, W, Va. A company spokesman last month said another facility is planned for a 12-acre property in New Windsor and a third site is expected to be announced for a northern New Jersey site.

Agency officials said visiting an operational facility would provide insight on impacts that cannot be judged by presentations from company representatives.

“I’m going to be looking in particular at financial questions (of) how much we might be willing to spend on something like this,” Gordon said.