WELCOME - The Valero ethanol plant in Welcome proposes to increase its maximum production from 118 million gallons to 136 million gallons, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Valero states the increase will occur without adding equipment, modifying the facility footprint or changing its permit for appropriating water.
The company also says the plant can accommodate the increase because it operates more efficiently than expected and because its water use is significantly below its current appropriation.
Attempts by the Sentinel to contact officials at the Welcome plant for more information were unsuccessful.
The plant has been operating under Valero Renewables since June 2009.
Valero, based in San Antonio, Texas, bought the Welcome ethanol plant, along with several other ethanol plants in the Upper Midwest from VeraSun Energy of Brookings, S.D., after that company went bankrupt in 2008. At the time, the Welcome plant was sitting idle, having never produced any ethanol for VeraSun.
According to the information from Valero's Web site, the Welcome plant is one of the largest ethanol facilities in the United States, sitting on about 300 acres. The bio-refinery is designed to run continuously every day. It has the capacity to process nearly 40 million bushels of corn per year.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is looking for input on the proposed increase in production. State officials are accepting those comments in writing from now until June 1.
Send questions and comments on the Valero EAW to: Nancy Drach, Planner Principal, Environmental Review and Feedlot Section, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul MN 55155.
Drach also can be reached by e-mail at: