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Ethanol Plant for Buffalo Gaining Speed

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – A proposed ethanol plant for the city of Buffalo is getting a little push from an Erie County lawmaker.

District 2 legislator Tim Kennedy said the plant - that would convert corn to ethanol - would also help fuel the local economy. A presentation was made to the legislature's economic development committee Wednesday by Smith and RiverWright Energy, the company proposing the Childs Street plant.

Kennedy said the former Con Agra property in his district is ideal for the project.

But some Old First Ward residents are worried about pollution and harm to the environment.

The company is currently waiting for the results of an environmental impact study filed with the city. Kennedy said although the project doesn't require legislative approval he will be advocating for residents to prevent any negative impacts.

He said that includes making sure modern technology is used to minimize odors, and that precautions and procedures are in place to guard against chemical spills.

Kennedy also promotes the use of locally grown corn to increase the economic benefit. He said if all proceeds as expected, the company expects to begin construction early next year, with the plant coming on line as soon as 2008.