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CLATSKANIE, WA-The largest ethanol plant on the West Coast is being planned for the Columbia riverfront near this rural city northwest of Portland. Backed by Fagen Inc., a Granite Falls, MN-based builder of ethanol plants, Cascade Grain Products LLC is planning to build the $200-million facility on a former ammunition depot owned by the Port of St. Helens but controlled by Portland General Electric, which has a long-term lease on the property.

The company has acquired the necessary land use and environmental approvals. Under the proposed plan, Cascade would sublease 50 acres from PGE, and use wheat and corn to produce 84 million gallons of ethanol annually for use as a gasoline additive. Cascade’s plant also would separate wheat into bran, gluten, and wheat germ, which would be sold to food processors. The remaining wheat starch would be used to make ethanol.

Cascade, currently in the financing stage, has applied for a $20 million loan from the Oregon Office of Energy’s small scale energy program that is contingent on other financing. Production may begin as early as April 2002. Ethanol is the only known alternative to methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive better known as MTBE, that is a suspected carcinogen and water contaminator.

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