Thursday, March 16, 2006
The Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The state agriculture department is suing the company that was supposed to build a $150 million ethanol plant in southwest Louisiana next to Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom's controversial sugar syrup plant in Lacassine.
In May, Odom held a groundbreaking ceremony for the plant, which was supposed to distill agricultural waste such as sugar cane bagasse into ethanol. The Lacassine syrup mill began processing cane into syrup about two weeks ago.
A massive ethanol plant using the waste product from cane processing would have greatly helped the syrup mill's bottom line — but Supercritical (Recovery Systems/Lacassine LLC) would have been building the first full-fledged plant in the world to manufacture ethanol from cellulose, or plant fibers.
Robert Ames, chief executive officer of the company, did not return a call seeking comment.
Odom defended his earlier support of Supercritical.
"They came with $15,000. If you came with $15,000, to me you are real," he said.