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VeraSun Energy delays two ethanol plant openings in the Midwest


VeraSun Energy Corp. will postpone the opening of two new Midwestern ethanol plants because of the rising cost of corn and less-than-attractive ethanol prices.

The company had planned to open plants in Welcome, Minn., and Hartley, Iowa, this month. The Welcome facility — which would be served by the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corp. (IC&E) and Union Pacific Railroad — is designed to produce 110 million gallons of ethanol and process 39 million bushels of corn annually, making the plant the one of the nation's largest ethanol-producing facilities. The Hartley plant would be served by the IC&E.

The facilities will open when market conditions improve, VeraSun Energy said. No specific timetable was released.

Last year, VeraSun Energy opened an IC&E-served ethanol plant in Charles City, Iowa. The company operates other IC&E-served plants in Aurora, S.D., and Fort Dodge, Iowa.

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More News from 6/19/2008