Ethanol Plant Financing Soughtby Mark Mendiola
Capital Press, May 3, 2002
POCATELLO, Idaho -- Intrepid Technology and Resources Inc. has confirmed it's trying to raise $50 million in financing to develop an ethanol plant here that would be a major boon to struggling agriculture and rail freight industries.
The Idaho Falls-based company has placed a down payment on land near the Great Western Malting plant on the west end of town.
The ethanol plant initially would use corn from the Midwest that would be shipped in 110 rail cars every 10 days, but area feedstock sources also could be tapped.
Barley, wheat and even potatoes also could be fermented and distilled to create the alcohol-based fuel additive.
Dennis Keiser, Intrepid president and chief executive officer, said the Pocatello ethanol plant would employ 50 people, who would be paid $25,000 to $30,000 annually.
An additional 350 construction-related jobs could be spawned by the project.
A construction timetable has yet to be firmed up.
The plant would use sophisticated biofilters to minimize odors or discharges into the air.
Ethanol plants also are under consideration for the Idaho Falls, Burley and Payette areas.
Ray Burstedt, executive director of Bannock Development Corp., which has been working with Intrepid to finalize the deal, said a federal program that allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to guarantee loans up to $10 million for ethanol plants is among several financing options.
A Housing and Urban Development program that provides community grants for infrastructure improvements and tax revenue bonds are other possibilities.
Union Pacific Railroad could benefit from the proposed plant, which could conceivably become its third largest account in Idaho.
UP was hard hit by the December closure of an Astaris elemental phosphorus plant that employed more than 400 people and required as many as 80 phosphate rail cars a day during peak shipping periods.
The railroad recently announced it would close its yard here. In the past five years, about 400 Union Pacific employees in Pocatello have lost their jobs.
Anheuser-Busch's recent announcement that it plans to nearly double capacity of its barley malt in Idaho Falls and Grupo Model's plan to construct a large new barley malt plant adjacent to it also promise increased rail traffic and revenue for Union Pacific in Eastern Idaho.
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