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Tampa port commissioners extend ethanol lease

Tampa port commissioners extend ethanol lease

The Tampa Port Authority port commissioners have approved a lease extension for the site of a proposed ethanol plant on port property ' in spite of opposition from Mayor Pam Iorio and County Commissioner Rose Ferlita, who also serve on the port commission.

   The TPA commission Tuesday voted 4-2 in favor of a six-month extension of a lease option for Port Sutton EnviroFuels, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune. The port had previously approved the construction of an ethanol processing plant in the Port Sutton area of the Port of Tampa. The report said construction is being delayed pending the resolution of a legal dispute with a neighboring tenant, which is holding up financing for the project.

   Iorio and Ferlita said they felt environmental concerns should be addressed before the project proceeds.

   The ethanol plant project was originally approved in 2005, with no environmental concerns raised at public hearings. Since that time, however, various parties have started to question the environmental impact.

   The report said port commissioners who voted in favor of the extension felt that by extending the lease option, they were buying time to examine any environmental concerns.

   Officials from both the port authority and the State of Florida have been encouraging the development of the ethanol industry over the last two years, in general saying ethanol holds promise for Florida agricultural and port interests statewide.

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