Permit process delayed

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

The location of a proposed ethanol plant in Clovis was unclear in a public notice, temporarily halting the approval process for the plant, according to a New Mexico Environment Department spokeswoman.

The proposed ethanol facility is to be located along U.S. 60/84, approximately two-tenths of a mile from city limits and approximately three miles west of downtown Clovis.

A public notice for an air quality permit for the plant stated that the facility would be located three miles west of Clovis. That notice appeared in the Aug. 20 edition of the Clovis News Journal.

“The company’s first public notice gave unclear information on the facility’s location,” said the public relations director of the New Mexico Environment Department, Marissa Stone.

“We do expect there will be another (public notice) published because of the ambiguity of the directions to the facility,” Stone said.

The New Mexico Environment Department decided to put the permit process on hold Tuesday, deeming the permit application incomplete, Stone said.

The proposed plant is a joint venture of the ConAgra Trade Group. The company already operates a grain elevator at the site proposed for the ethanol plant.

ConAgra spokeswoman Melissa Baron said the description of the location for the plant was taken from a previously issued permit for the company’s grain elevator.

“The important thing to point out,” Baron said, “is a portion of the property is located on city land, but the majority of the property is on county land.”

By law, the Environment Department must notify the public of the proposed sites for ventures such as the ethanol plant in a general-circulation newspaper, Stone said.
Within 90 days of the date a permit application is deemed complete by the state agency, the application is scheduled to be issued or denied, Stone said.

A period for public comment on the application also must be allowed by law.

Comments and inquiries about the ethanol plant may be directed to The New Mexico Environment Department, Air Quality Bureau, 2048 Galisteo St., Santa Fe, NM 87505.