Corn Plus pleads guilty to Clean Air Act violations

By Kris Bevill | August 10, 2009
Report posted Aug. 27, 2009, at 9:36 a.m. CST

Winnebago, Minn.-based Corn Plus LLLP plead guilty in federal court Aug. 19 to violating the Clean Air Act by negligently discharging wastewater from its 49 MMgy production facility. The plant admitted to discharging wastewater into a drain tile located on its property between 2005 and Aug. 2007. The water, which contained biological oxygen, eventually ended up in Rice Lake and polluted its waters, according to the U.S. EPA.

Corn Plus attorney Dulce Foster said the company cooperated with the federal government during the two-year investigation and has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine as well as contribute $50,000 toward a Rice Lake environmental project. "The company corrected the conditions that resulted in the discharge well over a year ago and brought its operation into full compliance with environmental regulations," she added.

Keith Kor, general manager at Corn Plus, was unable to comment.

According to the settlement, Corn Plus has also agreed to further enhance its environmental compliance plan. The company already has a reputation for being environmentally innovative. It was the first ethanol producer to join the Chicago Climate Exchange and is the only North American biofuel producer to sell carbon credits. Since installing a fluidized bed boiler several years ago to utilize leftover corn syrup as an energy source, the company has reduced its energy intake by more than 50 percent.