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Big River Resources Grinnell Ethanol Plant, Iowa

STATUS: In progress, with opposition

TYPE: Ethanol

OPPOSITION: Local residents

PROSPECTS: Indeterminate

BACKGROUND: US BioEnergy Corporation and Big River Resources, LLC began construction on a jointly owned ethanol facility near Grinnell, Iowa, but the project was derailed by NIMBY lawsuits filed over various zoning issues. The facility was expected to produce approximately 100 million gallons of ethanol per year, 320,000 tons of distillers grains per year and employ about 45 people.

The plant was originally proposed in early 2006. However, in August 2006, neighbors of the proposed plant filed a lawsuit saying officials illegally rezoned the land. The lawsuit against the Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors claims property values will be hurt if the plant is built. The suit asks that a judge void the supervisors' vote and make it illegal to build any industrial development on the land.

On March 26, 2009,  an Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that the Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors acted legally in rezoning land for the  proposed ethanol plant. Karl Knudson, a Decorah lawyer representing the plaintiffs, filed a petition for further review in the Iowa Supreme Court. As of May 1, 2009, the petition had yet to be reviewed by the Court.

SOURCES: KCCI Des Moines: http://www.kcci.com/news/9725540/detail.html;
BusinessWire: http://www.businesswire.com/news/google/20070206006170/en;
Ethanol Producer Magazine: http://www.ethanol-producer.com/article.jsp?article_id=3854&q=&page=all;
Scarlet and Black: http://www.thesandb.com/news/controversy-surrounds-new-ethanol-plant.html

Last updated November 15, 2010