Local News

Fayetteville Residents Raise Stink About Proposed Ethanol Plant

Posted March 27, 2007

— Ethanol is being touted across the country as a clean alternative fuel for our cars. But a plan to make it in Cumberland County has many neighbors crying foul.

Dorothy Hamilton is used to trucks driving past her home. She lives across Bethune Drive from the big Goodyear plant. But now there’s rumblings of another factory to be built on her street.

"I believe that plant should be put somewhere else, not in a neighborhood where people live,” Hamilton said.

She could see another 30 to 60 18-wheelers a day, and a pine thicket down the street from her house could become a plant turning 41 million bushels of corn into ethanol every year.

The facility would be run by E85 Inc., a start-up firm owned by a wealthy investor in India. The Cumberland County Business Council smells a good opportunity, while neighbors fear it would just smell.

"In some cases there is a smell, but it's older technology,” said Phyllis Owens with the Cumberland Business Council. “And in most cases, when we're talking about state-of-the-art technology, the smell is confined to the plant site."

Some have likened the smell to corn flakes; others to stale beer.

The project has raised a stink in the Graystone Farms subdivision. Residents are petitioning Cumberland County commissioners not to approve E85.

"Most of this gasoline that they're producing, we're probably not even going to use,” said Craig Purcell, who is collecting signatures from residents.

"I don't disagree with big business coming into Fayetteville,” Purcell said. “We need big business. But we need pharmaceutical companies. We need microprocessing plants. We don't need some factory coming in here that employs 40 people."

He said it's not worth the county giving $875,000 in incentives to a plant he thinks would hurt property values and foul the air. Project boosters say ethanol is among the best things going for weaning Americans off oil and cleaning the air.

"There are other things, great things coming down the pike,” said Owens. “But they are still five, 10, 15 years out. We need to start doing something for our country today.”

The state's Division of Air Quality has approved a permit for the $200 million plant, and county commissioners will vote Monday night on whether to give the project tax incentives.


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  • Jackaroo Mar 28, 2007

    Comparing an ethanol plant to a propane center is absolutely absurd. I live in Raleigh...if the foolish people in Fay want this nonsense, you go for it. There will be little positive ripple in Fay. ie the trucks, tires, gas...dream on. I was in the energy business 30 years, and I know alot about this business. Be careful what you ask for...Trust someone with deep pockets from India? duh?

  • JDPike Mar 28, 2007

    Everyone is complaining about this plant, remember there is a propane plant right next to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter that has been there for years, but if he were to try and start that business there today everyone would complain about all the dangers that this would bring and so far they haven't had any problems and have been there longer than I can remember. As for ripple effect, the product has to be shipped, trucks need fuel, tires, etc. you could go on and on. It's like the proverb A butterfly flaps his wings and on the other side of the world there is a typhoon. Everything has an effect on something, good or bad.

  • JDPike Mar 28, 2007

    These are all opinions and so what if all of the created are not in Cumberland County, coming from a farming family, I hope this goes through. As for the $875,000 the county is giving them, I also think (my opinion) that this is a good idea. Estimated energy consumption is $3.5 million per year paid to PWC, who makes about 10% profit on all the money they take in. After 3 years the $875,000 is payed back plus some, everything after that is profit allowing PWC to extend its services to the residents in the Elliot Bridge Rd. area that they have been talking about for years but nobody can seem to figure out how to finance. I think this would be good for the county as a whole and would hate to see it go somewhere else because a couple of hundred people are worried (not even knowing for sure) that there may be a bad smell in the air.

    Thanks everyone for input on this. I am proud to be an American where we can discuss things like this in a civilized manner. Hope you all have a great d

  • Jackaroo Mar 28, 2007

    The comment about additional job creation is wrong. Except during construction (temporary, and many will come from outside Cumberland Co.), there is NO ripple effect of suppliers in THIS business. There WILL be a ripple effect (a negative one) for others who will have to compete for what is a fairly finite supply of corn. Farming corn in NC is risky enough due to our consistent droughts. That is why the big hog farmers bring in entire trains of corn from the midwest. If there is a ripple it will be in the midwest. NC simple cannot produce anywhere near the 40 million bushels this plant would consume. I am confident this plant would also bring in trainloads of corn from outside of the state (like coal), and off load to trucks.
    "A house is like the stock market" is garbage. Property ownership is about the only thing you can expect to increase in value over time. UNLESS an after-the-fact eyesore in introduced into the equation. Those facts speak for thems

  • raglangr Mar 27, 2007

    Gotta love the NIMBYS

  • JDPike Mar 27, 2007

    This plant may only employ 40 people but it will create many more jobs. Also, the first amendment gives us the right to assemble and protest the government, not private businesses.

  • JDPike Mar 27, 2007

    Baldy 64, I own my house as well, a house is like the stock market, you may loose or make money with it. Quit trying to stop people from what they wish with their own private land because you don't like it.

  • Jackaroo Mar 27, 2007

    Another issue...the State Air Quality division has always been heavily influenced by the State Dept of Commerce...duh. Their air quality permit is not the issue. They do not regulate smell or the various negative impacts, such as traffic, dangers, the economic impacts on consumers and farmers. You cannot consume 40 million bushels of corn a year without a negative ripple effect to everyone but the truckers, railroad, shareholders and utilities. One commenter ignorantly said "if you dont like it, move". That is not the American way. If you do not like it, protest, and force those that will benefit to come clean. And the local economic developer has never seen a project he/she did not support. They buy into all the BS from those proposing a project. Insist all those benefitting the project move into adjoining neighborhoods.
    Yeah, right. I will not hold my breath on that one! (...that smell, is the smell of money to those few entities who will benefit.

  • Jackaroo Mar 27, 2007

    Oh yeah, one more thing...cars can use no more than a 10% blend of ethanol...even then there are problems with seals. Outboard motors, and some other times of machinery void your warranty if you burn an ethanol blend. This is not a solution to energy independence...the farmers (retail and the pork industry) and others), the community, and the consumers will pay the price

  • Jackaroo Mar 27, 2007

    As an experienced opponent of the stooopid plant they tried to build off Beaufort, I visited a number of high tech plants in the midwest. They ALL had an objectionable odor. They all caused the price of feed corn (to farmers) to increase significantly because of their huge corn appetites. Much of their $200 M investment is non-taxable because it qualifies as recycling. They will consume huge quantites of natural gas, and the gas company would likely build a liquified natural gas plant to support this project...natural gas prices will rise due to this new demand, and an LNG plant stores gas at a quantity 600 times greater than normal gas...can we say boom? A really big boom? All this for 40 blue collar jobs. Tell them NO !! I live in Raleigh, but worked in Fay in the 70's for 7 years. Tell them hell NO!!