Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The operator of an area ethanol plant is proposing a huge expansion and the state is seeking public comment on the plan.

Al-Corn Clean Fuel near Claremont in Dodge County is proposing to expand its production from 50 million to 130 million gallons per year. The expansion would also increase production of dried distillers grains to 350,000 tons per year, and corn oil to nearly 4 million gallons per year. Corn processing capacity will increase to about 47 million bushels per year.

The project anticipates the expansion will mean an increase of 80 corn delivery trucks per day. Rail traffic would increase from ten 10-car trains per year to two 100-car trains per week.

The project includes a new natural gas combustion turbine and the expansion of rail loading and unloading capabilities.

As required by state law, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the proposal.The public is being asked to submit written comments on the  worksheet through Sept. 14.

The worksheet provides basic information about how a proposed project could potentially affect the environment, and helps determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement, a more comprehensive environmental review, is needed.

The worksheet for this project is available on the MPCA’s Environmental Assessment Worksheet webpage. Comments, which must be in writing, should go to Karen Kromar, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155. Ms. Kromar can be reached by phone at 651-757-2508, fax at 651-297-2343 or by email at karen.kromar@state.mn.us.