– November 3, 2016, CBS Minnesota
POET biorefining (Photo: POET)
Federal investigators have found multiple safety violations at a South Dakota ethanol refinery expansion project following the death of a worker in May.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it cited the worker’s employer, North Dakota-based Bilfinger-Westcon, with five major safety violations.
Investigators found the 38-year-old pipefitter was removing a vent line May 6 when 190-proof ethanol spilled onto him, flowed through a grated floor and was ignited by welding operations on a lower floor. The fire engulfed the man.
– September 30, 2016, KDLT
The South Dakota Supreme Court has removed the final obstacle for a $150 million ethanol plant in Sully County.
Justices this week denied the appeal of 11 Onida-area residents who oppose the plant’s location. The neighbors maintain the county improperly issued a permit for the project.
The Supreme Court didn’t rule on the merits – justices instead said the opponents didn’t file their appeal within a 30-day window set in state law.
– by Associated Press, May 19, 2016, Argus Leader
A $140 million ethanol plant planned just outside of Onida is having trouble getting off the ground due to legal, financial and regulatory hurdles.
Ringneck Energy had hoped to start construction this spring and have the plant operating in a year, but the company is about $20 million short of the $75 million in startup money it needs, despite dozens of investor meetings late last year, according to its president and CEO, Walt Wendland.
“We gave local farmers and businessmen and the people of South Dakota a chance and we wished we would have gotten more involvement,” Wendland said. “But since December we have worked hard to find large investors to finish the project.”