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Officials lament closing of Corn Plus ethanol plant

WINNEBAGO — State and federal elected officials gathered in Winnebago over the weekend to talk about the recent closing of the Corn Plus ethanol plant.

Officials from both political parties agreed many of the problems facing the ethanol industry stem from Renewable Fuel Standard exemptions, which are issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

“It is a very bipartisan issue and there is no question that these refinery waivers are hurting corn growers and ethanol producers whether you live in a red county or a blue county,” said U.S. Sen. Tina Smith.

Corn Plus came into being 25 years ago when 756 farmers signed up and invested their money, according to local businessman Bob Weerts.

Winnebago city administrator Jacob Skluzacek expressed his concerns regarding the closing.

“I think the most important thing is to help the employees who have been affected by the layoff,” he said.

Besides area farmers losing a market for their grain, the city of Winnebago will no longer collect wastewater sewage fees from Corn Plus.

“The average sewage fees for Corn Plus was about $20,000 per month,” Skluzacek noted.

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