Ethanol plant permit decision expected by May

By Freedom Newspapers

Whether the proposed Clovis Ethanol plant gets the go-ahead for its air quality permit from the New Mexico Environment Department could be decided by mid-May, according to NMED officials.

A public hearing concerning the air quality permit for the proposed facility is scheduled for Jan. 11 at the Clovis Civic Center, according to an NMED news release.

Testimony will begin at 10 a.m. The hearing officer will accept non-technical public comments at 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and periodically throughout the hearing until all comments are heard, the release reads.

ConAgra Trade Group has requested the air quality permit for the ethanol plant it proposes to build at 1327 U.S. 60-84 west of Clovis at the site of its Peavey Company West grain handling facility. The plant would produce 110 million gallons of ethanol annually.

A report by the hearing officer with a recommendation on whether the permit should be granted can be expected two and a half months after the hearing by late March, and parties have two weeks to comment.

NMED Secretary Ron Curry will issue his decision whether to grant the permit 30 days later, although he can shorten the process, according to the release.

NMED will accept non-technical written public comments regarding the proposed facility on or before Jan. 11. They can be given in person to the hearing officer at the hearing or sent to Air Quality Bureau, Attention: Sam Speaker, 2048 Galisteo St., Santa Fe, NM 87505.