Biodiesel agreement up for Commission vote

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis City Commission will vote today whether to approve an agreement with Australian company to build a biodiesel facility at the Clovis Industrial Park.

The agreement would provide American Rewewable Fuels 25 acres of city-owned land to build an $80 million facility in the northern corner of the park and a tax-free bond, according to Clovis Industrial Development Corpora-tion Executive Director Chase Gentry.

The company plans to produce 75 million gallons of biodiesel a year from animal fat. The plant will generate 40 full-time jobs, according to Gentry.

The $75 million Industrial Development Bond would exempt the company from paying property taxes for 15 years, Gentry said.

“There’s no money involved, the city doesn’t fund anything; it’s just a tax-exempting mechanism,” he said.

If the Commission approves the agreement, the company will start construction in March and complete the facility around September of 2009, according to Gentry.

The Commission approved awarding the land for the facility during its Aug. 15 meeting.

In that meeting, Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder voted against giving land to the alternative fuel company because he was concerned about water use.

The plant would use 40,000 gallons of water a day, Gentry said previously.

Construction is almost complete on ARES Blue Sun’s $18 million, 10-acre Clovis Biodiesel Plant at the park. The plant is expected to produce about 15 million gallons of biodiesel year from soy bean and canola oil, Gentry said.

“They’re looking at opening in probably January or February,” he said.

American Renewable fuels is owned by Australian Renewable fuels. The Clovis plant will be its first facility in the United States.