Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Checking the ethanol list

Let's add Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) to the ethanol drinking list. Michael Horne explores why Olsen may be the biggest winner in the ethanol lottery.

The bills would require, with certain limited exceptions, "that the minimum specifications for automotive gasoline must require that automotive gasoline contain not less than 9.2 per cent nor more than 10 per cent ethanol."

Seems like a great deal for Paul Olsen, head of an investor group that recently announced plans to purchase the former Ladish Malting plant in Jefferson from Cargill Malt to convert it to an ethanol plant and fish farm. Paul Olsen already operates Utica Energy, LLC, which owns an ethanol plant in Oshkosh, which last week settled an air pollution suit brought by Atty. Gen. Peg Lautenschlager for tens of thousands of dollars.

Paul Olsen is the brother of Luther Olsen. Luther Olsen was cautious not to include his name among the sponsors of the bill. But, behind the scenes, he is all for ethanol, according to sources in the legislature who have spoken, under terms of confidentiality, with milwaukeeworld.

Luther Olsen is a part-owner of a number of large agricultural businesses in Wisconsin including Berlin Feed, Inc., Olsen Leasing, LLC, and Olsen's Mill, Inc., according to his Statement of Economic Interests filed with the State of Wisconsin Ethics Board in 2005 for the year 2004.

He derived more than $1,000 income from Olsen's Mill in 2004, according to the statement, and could stand to gain quite a bit more.

Olsen's Mill is not a small operation. It has a number of facilities, which from the looks of the firm's website, are significant structures -- stadium sized structures.

A press release from the firm says, "We have been working to team up corn growers with Utica Energy LLC. Dry mill ethanol plants are looking for corn that adds to their plant's efficiency and profitability. We are proud to offer Processor Preferred High Fermentable Corn Hybrids that can deliver higher levels of fermentable starch to Utica Energy LLC. ...
Checking the list twice: State Senator Tom Reynolds is ethanol free. The list (at right) has been updated accordingly. Leibham and Grothman have taken the pledge as well.