Illinois Corn Growers Association members and other supporters of a cleaner, less expensive gasoline alternative on Monday cheered passage by the City Council Finance Committee of the Chicago Clean with E15 Ordinance. The ordinance would make E15—a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol—available as an option to Chicago drivers, and now moves to the full City Council. Big Oil had more than 20 people on hand to testify against the ordinance. That was no problem for an equal number of farm and ethanol advocates that were on hand, as well.
Illinois Corn President Kenny Hartman, along with Vice-President Jeff Jarboe attended the hearing and submitted witness slips to testify. They were joined in submitting for testimony by past ICGA Presidents Len Corzine and Garry Niemeyer. Other farmers also attended and submitted witness slips, as well.
Those that attended the hearing tell of Chicago Clean 15 ordinance sponsor Alderman Anthony Beale saying that he was tired of listening to Big Oil’s scare tactics. Mr. Beale characterized the opposition as using “boogey man” type tactics to instill fear.
“I’m very pleased this ordinance has such strong support within the Council and across Chicago,” said co-sponsor Alderman Anthony Beale. “I look forward to the full Council vote, and to giving Chicagoans a cleaner, less expensive option.”
IL Corn and other supporters of the bill had been active in the lead-up to Monday's Finance Committee meeting where they delivered a petition with 7.673 signatures.
"Chicagoans asked for a cleaner, less expensive option, and we commend the City Council Finance Committee for their leadership. They see what we see in E15: a homegrown fuel that will reduce cancer-causing emissions and smog, lower gas prices, support Illinois' rural economy, and keep consumers' dollars in America instead of increasing our reliance on foreign oil," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. "We thank Chairman Burke and Alderman Beale for their leadership delivering a better future to Chicago and creating more jobs in Illinois and across America that can't be outsourced."
If passed, the ordinance would mark another in a string of environmentally-forward moves by the City. "Chicago has time and again led the country in taking action to clean the air. The City banned leaded gasoline in 1985, and we banned a variety of toxic gasoline additives in 2000," said Beale. "This ordinance continues that tradition."
***This report was corrected on 12/19 to remove an incorrect reference to Doug Wilson submitting a witness slip to testify before the Finance Committee.***