Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower

Two Ethanol Plants Sued

The Sierra Club announced last week that it intends to sue two ethanol facilities in the Midwest for violations of the Clean Air Act.

Washington, D.C. – October 1, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The club’s announcement comes after the Environmental Protection Agency warned ethanol producers in a letter sent in April of this year that “most, if not all, ethanol facilities” were in significant violation of the law, and offered to meet with producers to discuss resolving the violations “on terms most favorable to industry,” according to the organization. The two facilities named in the lawsuit are Ethanol 2000 of Bingham Lake, Minnesota and New Energy Corp. of South Bend, Indiana. “By the EPA’s own admission, these two plants are only the tip of the iceberg,” said David Bookbinder, senior attorney with the Sierra Club. “There’s a clear pattern in this industry of systematic disregard for the law. These lawsuits should serve as a warning to the entire industry to clean up their act, and to the EPA to enforce the law.” According to the Sierra Club, the EPA’s findings, which are based on data from recent emissions tests, reveal that corn-based forms of ethanol production – which account for around 95 percent of all ethanol produced in the U.S. – are far more dangerous than had been suspected: the two plants which are the subject of the initial lawsuits were found to be releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals well above permitted levels.