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Onida Ethanol Plant Construction Delayed

A 140-million dollar ethanol plant near the town of Onida is on hold.  Officials with the company Ringneck Energy say they are awaiting an air quality permit from the state.  

Officials with Ringneck Energy say the construction of the ethanol plant near Onida, South Dakota, is at a standstill due to legal and financial obstacles. Walter Wendland is with the company.  He says construction is delayed until at least fall. The project was originally intended to begin this spring with full operations next year.

Wendland says two neighbors near the site are objecting to an air quality permit for the project.  He says the state must determine which of those objections are valid. 

“We’ve asked the state to now give us our air permit so we can start construction. We don’t know if they’re going to allow them not to have to meet the rules, but we’re hoping that they do and we can finally get our air permit," says Wendland.

State officials include Kyrik Rombough (KY-rick ROM-bow).  He is with the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.   Rombough says the DENR initially met with Ringneck in July 2014.  He says Ringneck must participate in a contested case hearing with the Board of Minerals and Environment tentatively on August 18. 

“Depends on the Board’s decision. The Board’s decision may be challenged to our circuit court, and then depending on what those decisions are depends if construction will or will not begin," says Rombough.

Although new standards for renewable fuels are federally based, Rombough says they will likely be part of the August discussion. He adds that the Board decides whether to consider those standards or not when looking at the Ringneck case.