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BLISSFIELD, MI-Adrian-based Great Lakes Ethanol LLC says construction of its $80 million ethanol production plant on 136 acres in Monroe County’s Riga Township, near US 223 in Blissfield, will begin later this month.

Great Lakes officials have said the plant will create about 60 jobs and provide a new market for area farmers’ corn. While the company is making plans to begin production, it is still waiting on certain operating approvals from the state.

Company officials are waiting for the go-ahead from the Department of Environmental Quality for permission to discharge its treated wastewater into the River Raisin. “They don’t have to have it before they break ground; they can construct the whole plant,” said Jon Russell, DEQ supervisor in the Jackson, MI district office. “But I expect it will be issued in the near future.”

Less certain is the source of the 500,000 to 600,000 gallons of water the plant will require to operate every day. In late August, Michigan State House Democrats introduced legislation calling for all gasoline sold in Michigan to contain at least 10% ethanol in an effort to combat escalating fuel costs.

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