Ethanol concerns

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fears about what might happen to air quality and other environmental concerns are good enough reasons for some residents who live near a proposed ethanol plant in Scott City to take steps to oppose the operation, which converts corn grown locally into a gasoline additive. The Scott City plant is one of three planned for Scott County.

At the heart of property owner Monty Keesee's worries is a fear that the plant will give off a foul odor and emit other substances into the atmosphere that will make living near an ethanol plant unpleasant if not unbearable. Keesee has looked into other ethanol operations and has found that some have done just that.

Missouri already has five plants producing ethanol in the northern half of the state. Residents -- many of them investors -- near the plant at Malta Bend say they have no complaints about the operation there.

Keesee is drawing attention to potential problems before they occur and putting state and federal regulators on notice. If officials are correct that well-run plants with proper permits don't create environmental hazards, individuals who live nearby shouldn't have to worry about the smell or the release of dangerous substances into the atmosphere.

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