The Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership has been without a director since April, and it likely will remain without one until mid-August.
Board members will conduct phone interviews Wednesday with seven of the 12 people who submitted applications.
President Scott Cook said the board interviewed the top two candidates in person during the organization's last director search in early 2003. He said the board likely will do the same this time.
"We still haven't actually talked to any (of the candidates). We need to get going on that," Cook said.
A committee has been established to conduct the preliminary interviews. Cook said the candidates came from all over the United States and that there was one local applicant.
The EDP board met Wednesday but was unable to conduct business because a quorum was not present.
Board members decided, informally, to pursue a concept presented to them last week. Investors and engineers were in Craig seeking people to invest about $100,000 in an analysis and feasibility study to see whether an ethanol plant could be successful in Moffat County.
"It was just an opening conversation to gauge interest," EDP board member Jerry Thompson said.
A plant would create about 40 jobs with an average income of $35,000 to $40,000 a year. A Michigan study indicated for every one ethanol plant job, there were 10 spin-offs.
"They're looking to see if there's any interest from investors to partner with them to get this going," Thompson said. "They're obviously knowledgeable in what they're trying to do." When added to gasoline, ethanol makes it burn cleaner. It is also much cheaper -- an estimated $1 a gallon.
EDP board members were enthusiastic about the potential spin-offs of an ethanol plant. If ethanol is extracted from corn for example, the byproduct can be used to feed cattle or sheep.
The board didn't outline a specific plan, but the members who were present said the partnership should pursue the opportunity.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org