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Posted on  

October 9, 2003

Ethanol plant takes step forward with $1.5M loan

Staff Writer

WEST DEPTFORD TWP. -- A proposed $60 million ethanol plant took another step toward fruition Wednesday with the award of a $1.5 million loan from New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

The Third District Democratic trio of state Sen. Stephen Sweeney and Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Doug Fisher announced the state backing for the 292-acre former Huntsman industrial site located on Mantua Grove Road.

Funding will be used to cover operational expenses leading up to the purchase by Garden State Ethanol -- a grassroots group of farmers who spearheaded the plan.

The state financing, which comes on the heels of last month's announcement of $1 million in federal funding, keeps the "momentum" going for the project, Sweeney said.

"At the end of the day, it puts us so much closer to complete financing for the project," Sweeney said. "The state is showing that it believes in the project and also, the state's willing to get behind this."

Henry Capro, Garden State Ethanol development director, said the Board of Public Utilities loan was ironed out recently after negotiations began in June. He said the backing was a long time coming.

"It'll bridge the short-term financing for us to allow us operational cash now," Capro said. "In the future, it'll allow us to get to the loan ... that will allow us to build the plant."

He said Garden State is talking to several private individuals and banks for additional funding and hope to acquire the West Deptford land by year's end.

Following the projected one-year plant construction, the facility is expected to use 14.2 million bushels of corn from an 80-mile radius annually for the production of 40 million gallons of clean-burning gasoline.

"The use of ethanol is going to be an ongoing use fully supported by the state and federal government," Capro said. "I think it's just a fuel of the future."



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