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Just this week, the Illinois Senate passed so-called enabling legislation that allows the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to receive some $11.97 million dollars from a federal grant program called the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership. The Illinois House must now consider the legislation and hopefully pass it on to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Illinois Senator Jason Barickman sponsored the legislation in the Senate that passed with zero ‘no’ votes. That makes sense, as this shouldn’t be seen as a partisan issue. No state funding is involved in the authorization. The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be partnered with about $11 million in private ethanol industry funds, and over $1.5 million from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.
Senator Barickman said, “I think this is an area where we are going to see bipartisan support on an effort that spends no state money but allows our economy to grow. For those of us like me who represent large agricultural districts, I think this is a homerun.”
IL Corn’s Dave Loos says that this legislation really is important to the Illinois ethanol industry and opens the door for enhanced consumer choices, savings at the pump, and increased demand for Illinois corn. Illinois corn farmers are expected to plant 6 percent more corn acres this year than last, making demand building opportunities more important than ever.
The Senate Bill has been moved to the House where Representative Jerry Costello is expected to introduce it. If things go as smoothly as they did in the Senate, we hope to see it on the Governor’s desk soon for his signature.