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Sparta ethanol plant battle ends in a draw

A long-running legal battle over a proposed ethanol plant in Sparta may finally be over with nothing to show for it.

A deal has been approved in which Century Foods will buy 80 adjacent acres, where the Coulee Area Renewable Energy group was planning to build its ethanol plant.

Century will pay $2.5 million for the land and other rights.

Meanwhile, the energy group agrees not to build within three miles of the site and all previous legal matters will be dropped.

Century Foods sued to stop the project a year ago, saying the ethanol emissions would contaminate its milk-based products.

The two sides thought they had a settlement last October, but the energy group said Century Foods breached the deal, by demanding that the group's board members not be allowed to build an ethanol plant on land they personally own.

Plans for the ethanol facility were first announced in 2006 and the opposition surfaced a few months later.