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Rutherford: Ethanol laws boost economy, agriculture

Friday, June 12, 2003 Posted 11:00 p.m.
Springfield - State Senator Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac) indicated a trio of ethanol laws approved this week could boost the economy in rural Illinois by encouraging expansion of ethanol production in Illinois. Governor Rod Blagojevich signed three ethanol-related measures into law June 11.

-Together, these laws will help make ethanol fuels competitive, increase the number of ethanol plants in Illinois, raise the price of corn, and create new jobs,- said Rutherford, a cosponsor of two of the laws. -For rural communities who depend largely on agriculture for jobs, these laws are welcome news for their impact on corn and soybean crops and the new jobs the laws will eventually create.-

The first law, Senate Bill 46, extends the current sales tax exemption on ethanol and bio-diesel fuels through December 31, 2013. The exemption helps renewable fuels, such as ethanol and bio-diesel, remain competitive with traditional fossil fuels. Without this law, the exemption would have ended July 1, 2003.

House Bill 46, the second law, encourages growth of the current ethanol industry through the Illinois Renewable Fuels Development Program. The new program will assist with the construction, modification, alteration or retrofitting of renewable fuel plants in Illinois.

Estimates show this will increase the price farmers receive for their crops and create new jobs at the plants and in supporting industries. Under the third law, Senate Bill 1212, many of these jobs will fall under Illinois- prevailing wage laws, which ensure the plants are built by trained construction workers who are fairly compensated.

House Bill 46 and Senate Bill 46 take effect immediately. Senate Bill 1212 will take effect January 1, 2004.