Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Wednesday, Aug. 31 @ 4:48 p.m.

Oregon Ag Department Denies Weather Modification Applications for Curry, Klamath County Projects


How Aquaelicium works. | Courtesy Oannes Research and Development Corp

Previously:

'I Don't Sell Water — I Make It, But I Don't Sell It'; Salem Company Looks To Bring Weather Modification Technology to Curry, Klamath Counties

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Oregon’s agricultural department has rejected an application from a Salem-based company to install weather modification devices in Curry and Klamath counties.

About a week after it held public hearings in both communities, the Oregon Department of Agriculture stated the Oannes Research and Development Corporation’s proposal to install its Aquaelicium device contained “insufficient evidence to address potential adverse effects on agriculture, forestry and public health or safety,” according to a Tuesday news release.

On Wednesday, ODA spokeswoman Andrea Cantu-Schomus said the application and supplemental materials Oannes provided to the department didn’t offer enough details about the equipment, operation and effects of adding precipitation to the atmosphere.

“The applicant does have 60 days to request a review of the denial,” Cantu-Schomus told the Wild Rivers Outpost in an email. “The applicant may apply in the future for a license, but we would need more detailed information on the equipment and operation of the proposed project than (was) provided in his most recent application.”

This decision left the company’s chief strategic and scientific officer, Alexander Jenkins III, baffled. He claims ODA representatives used the science behind his device and its design to write the weather modification license application he submitted. Jenkins said he worked with the department for three years before he submitted his proposal for its consideration.

“Three years ago I asked for an application and they didn’t have it. They literally had no application in their system for this process,” he told the Wild Rivers Outpost. “I don’t want to say I was told it was a for-sure thing. I was led to believe it was in the best interest of Oregon specifically through the ODA. To have that happen was very shocking to our corporation.”

Jenkins claims his company’s Aquaelicium device can desalinate ocean water to create clouds, fog, mist, direct-to-pipe water and snow. Battery-powered, the device pumps ocean water into a containment chamber, uses lasers to heat it to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and then cools the vapor to produce potable water as condensation, according to ORDC.

Jenkins proposed building the devices for free for three years in either Brookings or Gold Beach and in Klamath County, which is experiencing a severe drought. By the end of that period, he said, the coastal communities would have “three years’ worth of product” — water, salt and rare earth minerals such as cobalt and lithium.

Jenkins’ two applications for a weather modification license are the first the Department of Agriculture has considered since about the 1970s, Operations Specialist Eric Nusbaum told the Outpost last week. Weather modification rules in Oregon were developed for cloud seeding in the central and eastern parts of the state in the 1950s or '60s, he said.

Nusbaum said Jenkins would need several different licenses and permits from federal, state and local agencies to build Aquaelicium in Curry and Klamath counties.

Curry County residents were skeptical about what little information was available about Aquaelicium, mostly contained within the public notice disseminated in the Curry Coastal Pilot and Del Norte Triplicate.

They said they wanted to know more about how the $21 million device would be funded and asked Jenkins why he chose Curry County.

“In the absence of any more specific information about the technology that would be used and (his) references to a new energy source and this novel process, [it] makes me very concerned about the qualifications of the applicants,” a Gold Beach resident named David said on Aug. 22. “I think the primary concerns, even if this proposal can be realized, are the amounts of water involved and the amount of salt that would be produced is beyond thousands … of tractor payloads of salt. I’m worried about the implications to infrastructure.”

Curry County Planning Director Becky Crockett urged Jenkins to make a presentation before the Curry County Board of Commissioners and give an outline of what Aquaelicium is so they could determine the potential impacts to county residents.

Another resident, Tiffany Chantel, said she did a background check on Jenkins and claimed he has a criminal past and accused him of being a con artist — allegations Jenkins denied.

On Wednesday, Jenkins said he felt three minutes given to each speaker at the public hearings, him included, wasn’t enough time for the public to learn about his project. None of the government entities asked any questions about Aquaelicium either, he said.

“The only engagement we had was at that meeting,” Jenkins told the Outpost. “It was pay a fee, pay to put it in the newspaper and then have a hearing. And, just like people said, there wasn’t enough time in the hearing. I don’t know what can be discussed at length in under three minutes and no one has ever had this in history — not in Oregon.”


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