WisBusiness: Sparta ethanol plant proposal must start again

By Gregg Hoffmann

SPARTA – Vernon County Circuit Judge Michael Rosborough has voided City of Sparta approvals for a proposed ethanol plant, thus forcing a repeat of the approval process.

Coulee Area Renewable Energy (CARE) LLC, which wants to build the ethanol plant, plans to go through the city approval process again.

CARE officials did not say whether they would attempt to build the plant at the same location, next to Century Foods. That company filed a lawsuit March 19, claiming city officials violated state law and city ordinances in their original approval of permits for the plant.

Sparta city administrator Ken Witt said another approval process could take up to two months. Century officials have said they hope CARE finds another location, but Sparta city officials made the original offer for the site in the city industrial park.

Century Foods claims emissions from the ethanol plant could contaminate its milk-based products. CARE challenges that assertion. Several members of the public also have protested the site under the theme of “Good Idea, Bad Location.”