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Two Ethanol Plants Planned for the Carolinas

Corn is not exactly abundant in the Southeast, so it may seem strange that East Coast Ethanol is choosing to open its facilities in this region. But the company's Chief Financial Officer John Long says it's a good business strategy. "When you look at all the logistics, it's cheaper to rail the corn down here and ship the ethanol out by truck than it is to rail the ethanol down here which is happening right now," says Long. He says corn is now the only commercially viable source for ethanol. He adds all four of the ethanol plants have room to expand as soon as it becomes easier to produce biofuel from products like prairie grass and wood chips. Critics of corn-based ethanol say too much corn is being used for fuel and that's driving food prices up. They also say it takes more of a toll on the environment than fuel made from other plant materials. The company's Carolina facilities will be located in Chester County, South Carolina and Northampton County, 50 miles northeast of Rocky Mount. East Coast Ethanol says it will be hiring 40 people to work at each plant.