Clean-up firm has ties to Whitefish

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A water engineering and environmental services company with strong ties to Whitefish is deploying equipment to the Gulf to help clean up the BP oil spill.

Ecosphere Technologies Inc. and its private subsidiary, Ecosphere Energy Solutions, will provide a non-chemical water treatment system to help remove the oil from the water. Both the parent company and subsidiary have Whitefish affiliations.

Dennis McGuire, chief executive officer of Ecosphere Technologies, is a part-time Whitefish resident. He is a founder of the company and the inventor of all of its intellectual property.

Board membership of the subsidiary includes Whitefish attorney Chad Wold, who is the general counsel and managing member for Ecosphere Energy Solutions, and Wold’s business partner, ex-NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who lives part time in Whitefish. (Wold is general counsel and managing member for Bledsoe Capital Group as well.)

Also on the subsidiary board are John Kuelbs, a part-time Whitefish resident and chairman of the subsidiary, and an undisclosed representative of William Foley’s investment company Fidelity National Financial.

On Wednesday, Bledsoe and another retired NFL quarterback and Ecosphere investor, Troy Aikman, held a press conference in New Orleans to demonstrate the technology. World-renowned environmentalist and ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau also attended the media briefing to endorse the company’s patented Ecosphere Ozonix technology.

Cousteau served on Ecosphere’s board of directors and board of advisers for many years. In a statement, McGuire said Cousteau’s dedication to protecting the seas has inspired Ecosphere’s efforts over the years to create eco-friendly technology and sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Ecosphere signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Mid-Gulf Recovery Services to use the technology.

“We build the special box that goes to the Mid-Gulf platforms” that are positioned to conduct cleanup in the spill area, Wold explained.

Ecosphere’s Ozonix Solution uses ultrasonic transducers and acoustic cavitation to create millions of microbubbles that rapidly transport the oil to the water’s surface in a focused containment zone for non-chemical separation. It’s completely opposite of BP’s method of pumping chemical dispersants to the wellhead.

According to Ecosphere’s website, BP’s chemical method of containment is an uncontrollable result.

“It [BP’s method] minimizes oil on the surface today, but long term it means no containment or control of the oil at the surface, with potentially massive unknown consequences for tomorrow,” Ecosphere maintains.

“It’s pretty exciting stuff,” Wold said about the cutting-edge technology, adding that the parent company has been working on the technology for 12 years.

The subsidiary has been focused on using the technology to eliminate the use of biocides when fracturing new natural gas wells, and has been “doing that successfully for three years.”

Glen Smith, chief executive officer of Mid-Gulf Recovery Services, said his company is “excited to be combining decades of experience and rapid response with Ecosphere’s breakthrough technology to begin the massive clean up of the Gulf’s marshes and inland waterways.

“ Ecosphere’s unique non-chemical systems will allow us to clean up and recover oil and not do further damage to the environment with chemical processes,” Smith said in a prepared statement.

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by e-mail at lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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