Ethanol Dispute in Court

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

The battleground for the ethanol dispute moved into a courtroom Wednesday. A group called Informed Citizens Engaged, or "ICE," is filing a lawsuit against the Winnebago County board for violating the Open Meetings Act.

An attorney for "ICE" says a majority of board members discussed zoning for the ethanol plant at a session outside of the board meetings. He says that's illegal. Board members cannot discuss county business outside of the public meetings.

Wednesday the attorney requested that the judge issue a restraining order against the board. It would stop them from voting on zoning for the ethanol plant, but the judge refused.

"This is a matter before the county board, this is a legislative matter. They have a meeting, it would be highly unusual, not in the normal course for the court to intervene in a legislative decision," says Gary Kovanda.

Both sides will go back to court on April 28. The county board is expected to make a decision on zoning for the ethanol plant the night before the court date, on April 27.

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