OPPOSITION: Local residents (PEL Laboratories)
PROSPECTS: Highly Unlikely
BACKGROUND: Port Sutton EnviroFuels has shelved plans to build Florida's first ethanol plant, blaming a "frivolous" lawsuit that delayed the project and cost the company its financing. A Texas company has stepped in to take over Port Sutton's 22-acre lease and build a biodiesel plant instead. The 22-acre site near U.S. 41 had been slated for a 44-million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant announced by Port Sutton EnviroFuels in 2006.
City residents and environmental activists complained about the air pollution the ethanol plant would produce, and about its demand for nearly 400,000 gallons of water a day. The project also became entangled in a lawsuit from a Port of Tampa neighbor. PEL Laboratories, an environmental testing firm, filed for an injunction because it contended that the plant, which surrounds PEL on three sides, would hamper its business and that plant emissions might undermine sensitive water and soil testing PEL conducts for military and commercial customers. After 16 months of litigation, Port Sutton EnviroFuels finally got a judge to sign off on terms of a negotiated settlement in late November 2007. A sealed agreement keeps the settlement terms confidential.
The plant was fully permitted and financed when PEL filed suit. However, over the course of the litigation, Port Sutton EnviroFuels had to relinquish funding for the plant. Upon settlement of the litigation, Port Sutton EnviroFuels had to start fresh trying to raise money to build. In March 2008, Port Sutton EnviroFuels said it had scaled back the project to just a storage and blending facility. The project then had trouble securing new financing. In August 2008, Port Sutton EnviroFuels pulled the plug on the project.
SOURCES: St. Petersburg Times: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/article788854.ece;
Ethanol Producer Magazine: http://www.ethanol-producer.com/article.jsp?article_id=3854&q=&page=all;
Tampa Bay Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2008/02/04/story3.html .
Last updated November 10, 2010