Sen Barickman advances legislation to free up federal dollars for ethanol programs

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois ethanol industry could soon see a major boost thanks to legislation filed by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and advanced by the Senate Appropriations II committee.

Senate Bill 3412 will allow the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to spend nearly $12 million of federal funds on a program to construct approximately ninety E15 and E85 pumps at gas stations throughout the state.

“This is money that will immediately go to boost our economy and provide a helping hand to our farmers who are struggling with low commodity prices, without spending a single dime of state money,” said Senator Barickman. “This legislation is a home run for Illinois.”

The federal program includes a total of $100 million that is shared by all states, with Illinois receiving the third largest amount. The Illinois ethanol industry is contributing $11.8 million in matching money, along with the Illinois Corn Growers Association which is providing more than $1.7 million.

“According to DCEO’s estimate, we will see $65 million gallons of E15 and E85 sold per year through these stations,” said David Loos, Technology and Business Development Director for the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “That would mean a huge impact for Illinois corn growers and the state ag community.”

As an example of the impact of higher blend bio-fuel pumps, a recent analysis from gas station chain Thorntons Inc. estimates that the installation of E15 and E85 dispensers at 43 of its Chicago-area stores would produce 231.7 full and part-time positions, create $12.7 million in labor income, and generate $4.2 million in public revenues.

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