MOSES LAKE - The City of Moses Lake is halting the progress of a biomass manufacturer that was recently featured on 60 Minutes on CBS. Massachusetts-based Xyleco purchased the 613,000 square-foot production plant at East Wheeler Road and Road M Northeast in Moses Lake in 2016. Xyleco Inc. has been hailed as a maker of "miracle" products.
According to Xyleco’s website, Xyleco is developing a process to extract the sugars from plant matter and turning it into useful products, including cellulosic ethanol. Those manufactured materials will be used to make food products like sweeteners, preservatives, additives, alcohols, sugars, polyols, organic acids. Animal nutrition such livestock feed, fertilizers and pesticides. Health and nutrition materials like cosmetics, detergents, plastics, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, medical-dental products, disinfectants and other materials like sustainable, degradable plastics, food packaging, beverage bottles, fibers, fabrics, composites, compositions, paints, resins, siding, coatings, varnishes, plastics, carpeting, tubing, seals. And energy and transportation materials like liquid fuels, oxygenates, anti-freeze and corrosion inhibitors.
But the city says Xyleco has been “uncooperative” in meeting the city’s requirements in order to begin production. Moses Lake Community Development Director Gil Alvarado says the company has been withholding information about the contents of the materials inside. Alvarado says the fire department needs to be aware of what’s inside so it knows how best to respond should a fire start. Over the course of the last couple of years Alvarado says Xyleco was informed several times that the city needs to know what is being planned, what chemicals, raw materials, and finished products will be produced to classify the building.
Despite the lull in communication, Alvarado says the company had begun placing processing equipment inside the warehouse in 2018. Due to Xyleco’s unwillingness to communicate, the city was forced to place "Do Not Occupy" signs on the plant until the company provides the city with all of the needed information and plans needed to perform a proper plan review and classify the building based on the components and processes.
“It’s disappointing,” said Alvarado. “But this company’s capabilities are a huge deal and we want it to open for production.” Alvarado says he’s confident that the plant will eventually open for business in Moses Lake.
Alvarado says the CBS feature on the plant was "inaccurate" on several fronts.