WisBusiness: Sparta ethanol settlement reached

By Gregg Hoffmann

SPARTA – A tentative settlement between the developers of an ethanol plant and a food processor in Sparta has been reached.

Coulee Area Renewable Energy (CARE) and Century Foods issued a joint press release Tuesday, saying that all claims related to CARE’s proposal for an ethanol plant in the Sparta industrial park have been settled.

CARE apparently will still build a plant somewhere in the region, but not next to Century Foods plant. Century officials have fought the proposed plant for months, because of fears emissions from the ethanol production could harm their milk-based products.

In a brief joint press release Tuesday, CARE and Century Foods said they have reached a tentative settlement on all claims related to CARE’s effort to build an ethanol refinery at that site. The rest of the terms of the settlement are confidential, the press release said.

The press release did not mention where an alternative site would be. The release said neither CARE nor Century Foods would make any additional comments on the tentative settlement at this time.

Gov. Jim Doyle met separately with both CARE and Century Foods in August. The two sides also met with a mediator. The issue was the topic of several public meetings, which drew large crowds.

“CFI is looking forward to a long and prosperous future in Sparta and we wish CARE well in its future endeavors,” Century Foods President Tom Miskowski said in Tuesday’s press release.

“CARE remains committed to providing good-paying jobs and a home-grown fuel source for the Coulee Region,” CARE President Dave Rundahl said in the same one-page press release. “This agreement will allow us to move forward with our mission.”