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Sparta ethanol group to apply again to dodge lawsuit

The group that wants to open an ethanol plant in Sparta says it will go back to square one.

They'll file a second request with the Common Council to get a permit for the plant instead of fighting a lawsuit which challenged the procedures in granting the first permit.

The Coulee Area Renewable Energy group says it would be cheaper and faster to reapply. It wants to build the ethanol plant next to Century Foods, which makes dairy supplements.

Century filed suit, claiming mistakes were made in what it called a very hasty approval process.

Now, the Coulee group says its new application will make the lawsuit irrelevant. The earliest the city can consider a new permit is May 15.

Meanwhile, the state DNR is still considering whether to grant the required state permits for the ethanol facility.

Century and its employees opposed those permits at a hearing the DNR held last week. They said emissions from the new plant would hurt Century's products and employees and would result in fewer jobs.