So he's making an offer he believes could help ease the nation's energy crisis.
Melamed, chief executive officer of Coral Springs-based CellAntenna Corp., wants to lease the 187,000 acres of land the South Florida Water Management District is buying as part of a $1.75 billion buyout of Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar Corp. and use the sugar cane for ethanol production. He's willing to pay $120 million a year.
"This is a great investment opportunity and a great opportunity to get involved in ethanol production," said Melamed, who calculates production would be about 120 million gallons a year.
"It's a great idea. I think it will work," Melamed said. "
Sterling Ivey, Crist's press secretary, said by e-mail Tuesday the state would take a look at Melamed's plan.
"All good options for this land are on the table and we will consider the proposals accordingly," Ivey said.
Melamed's idea is the latest to be floated about how to get ethanol
production going in
To date, the state has no plants producing the alternative fuel, but at least 11 are in the works.
Don Markley, chief operating officer of Fort Lauderdale-based
Southeast Renewable Fuels, said Wednesday the company plans to build a 20
million-gallon-per-year ethanol refinery on 60 acres owned by the Londono family 15 miles south of Clewiston. The company
plans at least three ethanol plants in areas around
Markley said the first plant would employ 47 people and represents a capital investment of $75 million.
"We will begin permitting in the near future and would hope to break ground by this time next year, assuming all permits are approved," he said.
And as early as next month, ground could be broken for a
Lonnie Ingram, a
"Until the first one or two plants go in, there will be hurdles to overcome," he said.