Sioux City officials are scrambling to find another 60-acre location for a proposed ethanol plant in their city. Plans to build the plant in an industrial park on Sioux City’s south side were scuttled because a rail line to the area needed to be upgraded to handle the amount of grain that would be consumed by the plant and the City of Sioux City, Union Pacific and Baard Renewables — the firm planning to build the plant — all balked at spending the two- to three-million dollars necessary to make the upgrade.
Sioux City Mayor Craig Berenstein says he’s confident the Washington-state-based company will stick with their plan to build the plant in Sioux City. “I think they understand that our location within the grain industry is critical,” Berenstein says. “I think they recognize that Sioux City is a viable player in economic development.” Baard Renewables has plans on the drawing board for a 140-million dollar ethanol plant.
The mayor says he, the rest of the city council and city staff are looking for a 60 to 70 acre site. “Although we haven’t identified particular locations within the city (we) are engaged in active discussions trying to find the most appropriate location or relocation,” Berenstein says. The company had planned to use both rail lines and barges on the Missouri River to ship grain to the south side of Sioux City where the original site was located.
Berenstein says there are other “viable” locations within Sioux City for the plant. “I’m very confident that Baard Renewables is committed to our community…and I believe that as we begin to evaluate alternative locations they are committed to making this project work,” Berenstein says. “I believe it will happen.” The proposed plant would produce up to 100-million gallons of ethanol annually and employ up to 50 workers.