AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho - A $1.5 billion fertilizer plant has been working for seven years to move into American Falls, but ConAgra has appealed the plans. The Lamb Weston ConAgra Foods plant is concerned about air emissions, wastewater and water quality, as well as the management of odor. They also expressed concern about the safety of their employees all in an appeal to the Department of Environmental Quality.
But CEO of Magnida Magnolia Nitrogen Idaho Ric Sorbo said he is confident not only will there be no problems with any of ConAgra's concerns, he is unsure why they now want the plant moved two miles down the road, seven years after knowing where the plant would be located.
Great Rift Business Development Executive Director Kristen Jensen said Magnida has already put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the area they will build the plant, so moving would not only be cost prohibitive, it would mean new permits needing issued.
Jensen said this all takes time and money, and if Magnida decides to locate elsewhere, the East Idaho region already has strong competition in North Dakota and Indiana, meaning big losses for our state.
Pending a decision by the Department of Environmental Quality, the construction is set to begin mid 2015 and be completed by the end of 2017, bringing in almost 2,000 jobs just for construction, and an additional 200 jobs to work in the plant.
With those kinds of jobs on the line, plus the ripple effect of people pouring money into the region, Jensen said she hopes decisions will be reached soon.
"I've had very positive response from the community," said Jensen. "The county and the city are on board, and very excited about the project. We just want to do whatever we can to make things happen."
Magnida hopes to be operational by the end of 2017.