In Washington, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in support of Illinois’ application for additional federal funding to advance the Illinois biofuels industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering up to $100 million in competitive grants to states that are testing innovative ways to distribute higher blends of renewable fuel.
“The continued advancement of biofuels in Illinois helps support a strong agricultural economy,” the Senators wrote. “The state’s 14 ethanol plants have an annual production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons, representing nearly 10 percent of U.S. capacity. The ethanol industry in Illinois supports more than 70,000 jobs, paying out $4.7 billion in annual wages and creating $17.5 billion in annual economic output. With the potential to support additional good-paying jobs across the state and the promise of more affordable fueling options for consumers in Illinois, we strongly support DCEO’s grant application.”