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Green energy benefits

The Milltown Clean Energy Facility will bring significant positive economic impact to Southern Indiana, the Milltown area and Crawford County. With all the current controversy surrounding this project, it seems to me that the substantial benefits to the county tend to get overlooked. Here are 10 good reasons why this project should be welcomed:

1.) Direct employment, creating 25 positions — averaging $50K annually, some positions as much as $75K annually. This represents $1.25 million in annual local payroll.

2.) The collection, processing and transport of wood chips, creating another 25 to 35 positions providing an estimated $1.2 million in annual local payroll.

3.) These jobs can never be outsourced overseas. Once the plant is operational, these positions will be here, for minimum, the next 30 years, the life of the plant.

4.) One hundred+/- skilled tradesmen, pipe fitters, welders and construction people employed during the construction of the plant. The estimated labor payroll during construction is $20 million. These people will add significant economic impact just by spending in the area on a daily basis for some 18 to 24 months.

5.) The plant will add $2 million plus to the property tax base after abatement period. Benefit: schools, roads, all county government services, etc.

6.) During construction, Liberty Green Renewables will purchase approximately $20 million of consumable materials such as concrete, gravel, waste disposal services, sanitary services, blacktop, excavation, etc. Much of these materials and services can be provided by Crawford County businesses and will have a major impact on the economic activity in the area.

7.) The plant will purchase $6 million to $8 million worth of fuel annually within a 75-mile radius, centered in Crawford County. These purchases will help existing forest products operations in the region remain viable in a tough economy.

8.) The need for Blue River Regional Water District to interconnect with another water system in order to supply water for the plant will improve the reliability and quality of water service for the citizens of both Milltown and Marengo. This is a one-time opportunity to get this accomplished with abso-lutely zero cost to BRRWD and its customers. The incremental revenue from the sale of water from BRRWD to LGR will enable system upgrades and improvements without rate increases that would otherwise be needed. Further, upgrading the water system has the potential to attract other commercial businesses.

9.) By providing clean, renewable power, the Milltown facility will be meeting the public need for reliable, consistently priced, locally produced "green energy" with a low emissions profile.

10.) Future jobs; many times industry attracts other industry. The attention brought upon Crawford County by the economic activity surrounding this project adds potential to bring in and create other business.

Given the current economic climate, very few projects of this size are moving forward. The production of "green" energy is just the type of economic stimulation being advocated by the current administration to get our economy moving and back on track. Projects such as the Milltown Clean Energy Facility are critical to controlling rising energy costs, lessening the public's reliance on fossil fuel power generation and slowing the effects of global warming at a local level. In addition, the Milltown facility will provide significant economic benefits to the community, including dozens of jobs and significant tax revenue for the county.

Larry W. Ott, Partner Liberty Green Renewables, LLC
May 13, 2009

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