Virginia Ethanol Plant Fights Opposition

Cindy Zimmerman

The developers of a proposed 216 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Chesapeake have mounted a major campaign to educate the community about ethanol.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that developer International Bio Energy Virginia LLC has hired a public relations professional and is taking out full-page ads in local newspapers to try and address community concerns about the plant.

Chesapeake project“I understand it’s an uphill battle, and I’m going to stay in the fight,” said ITAC Engineers & Constructors Senior Vice President Rick Starnes, a key player in the project who spent more than 20 hours last week walking Brentwood to discuss the plant with residents. “I wouldn’t work this hard if I didn’t think this was the right project for this area.”

Over the past two weeks, the developer has taken six planning commissioners on walking tours of the site and been knocking on doors in Chesapeake’s Brentwood neighborhood near the proposed site.

Company President Sidney Harrison said they are out to give the facts about the alternative fuel.

“We only have a short amount of time to educate the people because they’ve been fed so much junk,” Harrison said. “This is about jobs. This is about tax base. This is about energy security. This is a very serious project.”

Photo credit of proposed plant site: STEVE EARLEY, THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

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