For years now, the former Century Brass mill in New Milford has stood abandoned off Aspetuck Ridge Road, and it would be good to see it back on the tax rolls.

American Energy Enterprises, a Brookfield company, wants to change that by converting the old mill, a town-owned albatross, into an ethanol refinery.

However, before anyone signs on the dotted line, there are a number of questions that need to be answered.

This is not to say an ethanol refinery is the right project -- or the wrong project -- for the 72-acre Century Brass property.

All voices -- critics and supporters alike -- deserve the chance to be heard before this mill property is sold.

There should be no unanswered questions about the safety of the Century Brass site -- where toxic metal hydroxide sludge was dumped in the past -- and the safety of the surrounding neighborhood.

There should be no unanswered questions about the environmental impact an ethanol refinery would have at Century Brass, or any other project at the site, for that matter.

Many folks in New Milford are eager to see the Century Brass property developed after decades of dormancy, and that's perfectly understandable.

But that should not be done at any cost, even if it means depositing a bill of sale between $1.5 million and $2 million in the town's coffers.

There are also transportation issues to consider. For example, what impact would ethanol trucks have on local traffic?

And what impact would increased railroad traffic -- from bringing in wood chips and other raw materials -- have in terms of noise pollution?

Until these questions are satisfactorily answered, a $50 million grant from the Department of Energy hangs in the balance. American Energy Enterprises has already finished the first round of the grant's application process, but the money is hardly guaranteed.

While we support local efforts to go green and reduce the country's dependency on foreign oil, an ethanol refinery at the former Century Brass mill site still has to pass muster.

The town of New Milford needs more information about this project before it can move ahead. Or retreat.