Skip to comments.Wisconsin dairy processor files suit to block ethanol plant
Posted on 03/20/2007 10:25:56 PM PDT by thackney
MADISON A Wisconsin dairy producer is suing to try to block an ethanol plant from moving in next door, saying the pollution would contaminate its nutritional supplements.
Sparta, Wis.-based Century Foods International, a division of Hormel Foods Corp., filed suit Monday claiming the ethanol plants odors would taint the dairy-based products it manufactures. Its products include muscle-building powders, weight-loss powders and milk powders for beverages.
The suit illustrates how ethanol plants, touted in rural America as economic drivers that will increase corn prices and reduce reliance on foreign oil, are not always entirely welcome.
It warns the plants emissions could spell disaster for Century Foods, the largest employer in Sparta with 310 employees. Sparta is a city of 9,000 people about 115 miles northwest of Madison.
A key part of Century Foods manufacturing process involves allowing air in the plant through roof vents to ensure the powders dry properly and are consistent. Ethanol plant emissions are highly aromatic and soluble in milk products, the suit said.
It claims the city did not follow the correct procedures when it approved subsidies and a zoning permit for the proposed $80 million plant. It asks a judge for an order stopping its construction.
But city administrator Ken Witt said an air consultant hired by the city determined the plant would have no impact on Century Foods. He said the lawsuit could delay construction, which was expected to begin May 1.
If we thought the plant in any way would harm Century Foods, the planning commission would not have approved it, he said.
Ethanol plants turn bushels of corn into the fuel additive that is later blended with gasoline. In the process, they emit pollution-causing chemicals and compounds and a smell that supporters liken to popcorn but critics compare to manure.
Ethanol plants dont make good neighbors, said Madison lawyer Christa Westerberg, whose firm has represented citizen groups, including one in Sparta, trying to block plants construction.
Westerberg said the Sparta group shared Century Foods concerns about the way the city approved the plant and its location. Besides being near the Century Foods factory that employs 180 people, it is across the street from a golf course and baseball diamonds.
City officials repeatedly ignored concerns about product contamination raised by Century Foods, she said.
Youve got an employer who provides jobs to hundreds of people in the area, and youre going to sacrifice that for an ethanol plant that produces 30 to 40 jobs? Westerberg said. We really question that.
Century Foods lawsuit says the company is an essential part of Wisconsins dairy farming community, consuming more than 20 million pounds of milk products each year.
David Rundahl, a Coon Valley farmer leading the investment group building the plant, said he did not believe the plant would affect Century Foods products.
We do intend to vigorously defend our right to bring the project to the city of Sparta, he said.
Must be a teetotaler type. An industrial scale still with 40 employees could have the whole county happy.
Here is one credible statistic that might be helpful in framing the Ethanol issue in some perspective:
According to most computations I have noted, the maximum amount of auto fuel to be generated by using ALL of our yearly corn production would amount to less than 11% of the current requirement.
The Ethanol scam is alive and well, unfortunately.
Ethanol is almost as big of a scam as Carbon Credits...No, I take it back. It's a bigger scam.
Nah, your both wrong. the area around Sarta don't smell. The area around the ethanol plants stinks of whiskey at first, for ten's of miles around. Then after a year, it stinks like stale booze. It's really nauseating. Hormel's got a valid point. Unless the fuel corn industry cleans up their stacks, they won't be welcomed in many places. Especially where the stink would permeate their product(s).
Yeppers it is. But I gotta say it is running neck and neck with the man made global warming, carbon footprint, the ice is melting cabal.
It you can't get the pinkos in Madison, WI to go for an ethanol plant, where can you? Iowa is going to be the only place to have them? Its not like Teddy DrunKennedy is going to offer to have one in Marthas Vineyard or John Edwards is going to have one put next to his McMansion/compound just to make it 'carbon neutral'.
Can't wait until they can turn crabgrass into ethanol. I'll be a millionaire!
Why not? Isn't it booze at a different level? Prolly better than some of the crap he drinks.
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