Energy Official Quits Trash Plant Site Panel

State Energy Commission Chairman Charles Imbrecht on Wednesday removed himself from the two-member site committee for a proposed trash-to-energy project in Irwindale. Imbrecht, who had written a letter to help Pacific Waste Management Corp. and the city obtain $395 million in bond financing for the project, has been under criticism from the Miller Brewing Co., which opposes the project.

Imbrecht has insisted that the letter was "mischaracterized" by the energy firm and that he never intended to offer assurances that the plant would be licensed. He said he was stepping down from the committee to dispel the notion that the case might not be handled properly, but said he plans to vote on the plant license when the matter comes before the full five-member commission next year.

Edward Lasker, an attorney representing Miller Brewing Co., said Imbrecht's voluntary action does not satisfy his client's objections. "We filed a motion with the (California Energy) Commission on Monday for him to disqualify himself from the entire thing," Lasker said. "He wrote a letter that the applicant used to get a lower rate on bonds. I don't see how a man who let himself be used that way can be neutral."

A replacement for Imbrecht will be appointed to the site committee Sept. 4, a commission spokesman said.

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