Michigan OKs permit for $72M ethanol plant


BLISSFIELD - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved a permit requested by Great Lakes Ethanol LLC to install a $72 million ethanol plant in Riga Township.

The project, supported by township officials and a number of area farmers, has been opposed by a group of Riga residents, who fear the plant will harm the environment and bring unwanted development to the rural area outside Blissfield.

The group obtained enough signatures for a special election Feb. 22, when Riga residents will vote whether to uphold the industrial zoning status issued by the township's trustees for the 136-acre site where Great Lakes wants to build its plant.

The plant, if built, will annually produce 50 million gallons of ethanol, a bio-fuel made from corn used in gasoline, Great Lakes officials said.