Friday, Nov. 28


Ethanol poised to fuel
Illinois economy    
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[NOV. 28, 2003]  BLOOMINGTON -- Illinois is well-positioned to take advantage of the rapidly expanding ethanol market because of its competitive advantages, according to a newly completed study released Wednesday by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

According to the "Economic Potential for Ethanol Production Expansion in Illinois," the state's large corn production, central geographic location and well-developed infrastructure are among key assets, according to Doug Wilson, state director of USDA Rural Development.

"USDA Rural Development's investment in the state's rural infrastructure is paying off. Armed with this information, we are better prepared to help Illinois capitalize on the economic boon in ethanol demand with our business and industry, renewable energy and value-added programs," Wilson said.

The study will allow Illinois to target state and federal resources for ethanol development cost-effectively by using Illinois-specific data to evaluate the viability of proposed ethanol production facilities.

"Ethanol offers clear economic development opportunities for Illinois, including the creation of new construction and manufacturing jobs, increased local and regional farm incomes from value-added products, a boost to rural economies, and the generation of new tax revenues for the state," said Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin.


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DCEO's new Renewable Fuels Development Program has been initiated, and projects are currently being developed. Fifteen million dollars is available to support the construction, expansion and modification of biofuels production facilities of 30 million gallons or more.

The demand for ethanol has increased along with the growing national interest in energy security, cleaner renewable fuels and the need to replace MTBE, a gasoline additive that has polluted more than 1,500 community water supplies. Such increased interest in ethanol has the potential to broadly impact the income of Illinois' farmers.

"Increased ethanol production would certainly create additional demand for corn and raise farm income," Illinois Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. "But, the potential benefits to our industry do not end there. The study also found market opportunities for the byproduct of ethanol production, the so-called distillers' grain, as a low-cost, efficient livestock feed."

[Illinois Department of Agriculture news release]

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