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Agreement signed for Powers Energy ethanol plant

SCHNEIDER — Money has changed hands for property proposed as the future site of the Powers Energy trash to ethanol plant.

Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Merrillville, Monday said Earl Powers last week took an option on the land intended to be the site of the facility. The option will last through 2013. He said Powers intends to purchase the land as soon as financing he is working on with a private oil company and Raymond James Financial is finalized.

Earl Powers is scheduled to discuss the future of the plant with the Lake County Solid Waste Management District April 19 after he requested last week to again renew an extension giving him to show financing for the project has been obtained. The last 60-day extension expired April 2. A letter requesting another extension was filed prior to the deadline.

To move that financing forward Scheub, who is also a member of the Lake County Solid Waste Management District, said Powers is asking district officials to draft a letter that states if Powers is able to get the financing, the district will agree to send its waste stream to the plant.

So far 10 government bodies in Lake County have signed an agreement saying they would send their waste streams to the plant. Scheub declined to identify those communities at this time.

Scheub said in this case the agreement to send the waste is contingent on the financing. Financing for the plant previously has fallen through twice.

“We’ve already signed (an agreement),” said Richard Ludlow, Schneider town council president.

The town has been on board with the project from the start, annexing the land and recently rezoning it from agricultural to industrial. Along with its portion of property taxes and revenues the town stands to earn an additional 3 cents a gallon on each gallon of ethanol produced there. Ludlow said production is estimated at 120 million gallons a years.

Ludlow said he was aware of the land deal last week but it was not made public until Monday. He said the contract to purchase the land included an exchange of earnest money with the land owner.



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