An end to the battle over the proposed Eyota ethanol plant? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

An end to the battle over the proposed Eyota ethanol plant?

ST. PAUL, MN (FOX 47) -- Is a new ethanol plant in the near future for the city of Eyota?  Or will the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency ask for one more step in the project?  A public hearing was held on Tuesday in St. Paul and the MPCA is expected to make a ruling some time Tuesday evening.

The MPCA presented their findings to an environmental study for the proposed 55 million gallon ethanol facility in Eyota and found few problems.

MPCA Biolfuels Manager Jess Richards says, "We concluded there is not a significant potential for environmental effect."

But despite their findings, Eyota residents want the MPCA to conduct a more extensive study called an Environmental Impact Statement.

Eyota resident Tom Dornack says, "Worry about a number of things on a lot of different fronts."

Tom Dornack says residents are concerned about what this new plant might do to their town, with the proposed site about a half mile from the town's schools and across the street from a daycare.

Dornack says, "If that plant is built we feel there is going to be air pollution problems, water contamination potential, de-valued property and we have concerns for the health of our kids who have to breathe that pollution."

Eyota resident Jan Blevins says, "The location is really premium for them but it's not premium for us to have that type of industry there."

MinnErgy President and CEO Ron Scherbring says, "We are regular people from southeastern Minnesota that believe very strongly in Minnesota."

But MinnErgy representatives say they want to be a part of our nation's energy solution and that this plant might even benefit the people of Eyota.

Scherbring says, "We're a group of people that want to roll up our sleeves and participate and not send the problems or solution of problems we're having with our energy needs off to some other place to have it solved, we want to do it right here in Minnesota."

If the board does side with the citizens, MinnErgy will have to fund the environmental impact statement themselves.

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