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Coulee Area Renewable Energy Ethanol Plant, WI

STATUS: Canceled

TYPE: Ethanol

OPPOSITION: Neighboring businesses, local residents

PROSPECTS: Cancelled

BACKGROUND: Coulee Area Renewable Energy LLC (CARE) purchased 82 acres just east of the Century Foods International plant in Sparta, where it planned to build the proposed ethanol plant.  CARE investors said they hoped to begin construction on the ethanol plant in the spring 2007, and to begin producing ethanol in fall 2008. The plant would produce about 50 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Opponents countered that building it within city limits would pose air-quality problems, be a fire and explosion hazard, increase traffic and have a negative effect on the view from nearby properties and on property values. Some opponents said they would favor the plant if it was in a rural area.

Century Foods International, a dairy processor owned by Hormel Foods Corp, objected to the project, because it contended that plant emissions from the nearby refinery would contaminate its milk-based products. In October 2007, plant developers agreed not to build near the food processor. Century agreed to buy the land parcel and drop several lawsuits.

In December 2007, the investors for the project sued Century, alleging it reneged on the agreement by adding a new condition—that CARE board members agree not to allow the project to be built on land they personally own.  In the suit, CARE requested that Century be required to purchase CARE’s site under the terms in the October 2007 settlement agreement and that monetary damages be awarded under breach of the agreement.  In March 2008, a settlement was reached where Century agreed to pay $2.5 million for the land and other rights, and CARE agreed not to build within three miles of the site. The settlement also ended a series of lawsuits filed by opponents.

SOURCES: Ethanol Producer Magazine : http://www.ethanol-producer.com/article.jsp?article_id=3854&q=&page=all;
The Tomah Journal: http://www.tomahjournal.com/articles/2007/03/08/news/04ethanol.txt;
Coulee News: http://www.couleenews.com/articles/2007/12/22/thisjustin/07aethanol.txt;
Pierce County Herald: http://www.piercecountyherald.com/event/article/id/28357/publisher_ID/9/

Last updated December 6, 2010