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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Plant lacks town’s support

Associated Press

NEZPERCE, Idaho – Because of problems including the town’s isolated location, Nezperce residents have not financially supported the plan to build an ethanol plant on the Camas Prairie.

The reality of building the $23 million plant is not viable, said Lenny Hill, a Nezperce business owner who served on a steering committee.

He said it could happen with outside investment and if it moves either to Lewiston or down river.

The steering committee met recently to discuss options hindering plans to build.

“Ethanol is a hot topic right now with the price of fuel where it is,” said Hill. And, he said, while the plant would be an economic boon it could not produce enough ethanol to be nationally competitive.

Most plants can produce from 50 million to 100 million gallons of ethanol a year from corn, but officials estimated the output of the local plant at about 10 million gallons from other sources.

The Camas County plant would use wheat, which would require the same amount as corn to operate, but wheat is as much as $2 a bushel more expensive than corn. If the price of fuel drops, a wheat-run plant could not efficiently compete with corn plants.

A 10 million gallon plant would produce enough distiller grain as a byproduct to feed 45,000 head of cattle, but the grain’s shelf life is only three days, and no local cattle operations would need that much waste product.