In today’s Northfield News:

Ethanol plant in Little Prairie?

To the editor:

Advanced Bioenergy is proposing to build a large ethanol plant in our small farming community. This may cause profound changes in our lives. Please join us in learning about the possible impacts of this proposal.

The CEO of this company presented their proposal at last Monday’s meeting of the Bridgewater Township Board of Supervisors. The plant would likely be built in Section 29 near the Comus railroad junction. The site is targeted due to the availability of corn, rail, interstate highway, natural gas, water and electricity.

They are proposing a large facility: larger than the failed Dundas plant and twice the size of the Claremont plant. It would produce 100 million gallons of ethanol per year, store two million bushels of corn, occupy more than 200 acres with buildings on 50 to 60 acres, add five to seven miles of rails, pump 750 to 900 gallons per minute of well water, employ about 45 people, and attract 150 to 200 trucks per day.

There are a number of issues related to an ethanol plant of this size, including odors, air emissions, noise, light, highway safety, groundwater usage, wastewater treatment, and process and stormwater discharges to Wolf Creek. An Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) will likely be required by the state.

Advanced Bioenergy is only 18 months old, a phenomenon of increasing oil prices and the ethanol boom. They are building their first plant in Fairmont, Neb., and scoping a plant in Rochester, Ind. The plant in Rice County would be their third. This is a company with no economic or environmental track record for us to evaluate.

Like you, we love living in Little Prairie and cherish our shared history. Steve’s grandparents purchased our farm in 1919. Let’s inform ourselves so we make good decisions about our community’s future in 2019 and beyond.

Cathy Larson
Steve Albers


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