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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2006

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES A NEW $25 MILLION INVESTMENT TO HELP BUILD FIVE STATE-OF-THE-ART ETHANOL AND BIODIESEL PLANTS ACROSS ILLINOIS
Grants Will Spur About $334 Million in Private Investment, Produce 225 Million Gallons of Biofuels Each Year, Create About 150 New Jobs and Lessen Illinois’ Dependence on Foreign Oil

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced more than $25 million in new Opportunity Returns grants and additional support to help build five new ethanol and biodiesel production facilities across Illinois.  The new plants will spur about $334 million in private investment, produce 225 million gallons of biofuels each year, create almost 150 new jobs and reduce Illinois’ dependence on foreign oil.
 
“Energy independence means not being held hostage by OPEC every time you fill up the tank with gas.  These new ethanol and biodiesel plants mean more homegrown fuel that can replace foreign oil and give drivers more options and cheaper alternatives,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
 
The grants will help build the following five facilities:
 
·        Central Illinois Energy LLC in Fulton County has received $6.35 million to build an approximately $100 million ethanol production facility near Canton that will create about 45 new jobs.
 
·        Illinois River Energy LLC in Ogle County has received a $5.5 million grant to build its new 50 million gallon per year, $80 million ethanol production facility on an 81-acre site near Rochelle that will create about 45 new jobs. 
 
·        Center Ethanol Co., LLC in St. Clair County is receiving nearly $5.7 million in grants and tax credits to build a new $100 million ethanol production facility near Sauget that will create about 35 new permanent jobs, as well as 250,000 worker-hours of construction jobs. 
 
·        Biofuels Company of America, LLC in Vermilion County is receiving approximately $4.8 million in grants to construct a new $30 million biodiesel production facility near Danville that will create and retain about 115 jobs. 
 
·        Stepan Company in Will County is a receiving a  $3 million grant for a nearly $24 million expansion of its existing biodiesel production facility near Elwood that will create up to eight new jobs. 
 
The Governor is providing $6.35 million in grants to the Central Illinois Energy LLC in Fulton County to build a $100 million ethanol production facility with an integrated coal-fired combined heat and power plant.  The new biorefinery, to be built near Canton, will create about 45 new jobs.  The Governor’s support for this innovative project includes a $4.5 million grant through the Renewable Fuels Development Program from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), a $750,000 grant from DCEO’s Illinois Coal Competitiveness Program and $1.1 million in infrastructure assistance from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Rail Freight program. 
 
Central Illinois Energy (CIE) will build this 37 million gallon per year ethanol production facility and an associated coal-fired, combined heat and power plant (CHP).  The plant will use about 13.1 million bushels of corn annually and produce about 111,000 tons of livestock feed (distillers dried grains) each year.  Because the facility uses CHP technology, the plant will be very clean and energy efficient.  (Company Contact: Mike Smith at 309/668.3299)
 
“I want to commend Gov. Blagojevich for his commitment to this plant and for sticking with us as we worked towards making our financing a reality.  This project is a textbook example of what can be accomplished when government, labor and agriculture combine their efforts and work towards a common goal.  CIE will add more than $50 million each year to entire downstate economy,” said Mike Smith, General Manager for Central Illinois Energy.
 
“This is a tremendous day for all of Illinois because so many people have come together to make us more energy independent.  Gov. Blagojevich and I are proud to invest in this innovative project that is going to help our unions, our farmers and our coal miners while lessening our dependence on foreign oil.  This is a common sense energy strategy that everyone needs to pay attention to,” State Senator George Shadid (D-Pekin) said.
 
“Gov. Blagojevich and I understand that there are innovative ways to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, while providing an important boost to our economy.  These Opportunity Returns grants to Central Illinois Energy strongly demonstrates our commitment to ethanol as an important part of our energy future,” State Representative Mike Smith (D-Canton) said.
 
“On behalf of the West-Central IL Building Trades, I’d like to thank the Central Illinois Energy team and Gov. Blagojevich for their perseverance and tenacity in bringing this much needed, job creating project to Central Illinois.  Gov. Blagojevich’s vision, to replace high imported energy costs with high wage jobs in renewable fuels and clean coal, is the right vision for Illinois and America,” said Mike Everett, Council President of the West-Central IL Building and Construction Trades Council.
 
In a strong partnership with the project, several local labor associations are not only involved with the construction of the project but are also investors.  Labor organizations including the Mid-Central Illinois Regional Council of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the United Association Pipe Trades Council #34, the Laborers International Union Local Union #231, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local Union #649, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union #34 invested a combined total of $410,000.
 
Gov. Blagojevich also announced today that Illinois River Energy LLC in Ogle County has received a $5.5 million Opportunity Returns grant to build its new 50 million gallon per year ethanol production facility on an 81-acre site near Rochelle.  This project will boost demand for Illinois corn by almost 18 million bushels a year, produce about 160,000 tons of livestock feed (distillers dried grains) each year and create about 45 new jobs.  The total cost of the facility is approximately $80 million.  (Company Contact: Floyd Schultz or Vince McCabe at 815/561.0650)
 
“We want to thank Gov. Blagojevich for all of his support in making this important project come to life.  This project will increase ethanol production and energy independence right here in Illinois.  We have a great opportunity to look within for more and more of our energy needs and to boost our economy and protect our environment,” Illinois River Energy President Floyd Schultz said. 
 
Center Ethanol Co., LLC in St. Clair County is receiving nearly $5.7 million in Opportunity Returns support to build a new $100 million ethanol production facility.  The new biorefinery, which will be built near Sauget, will create about 35 new permanent jobs, as well as 250,000 worker-hours of construction jobs.  The state’s support is coming from a variety of DCEO’s business development programs, including a Renewable Fuels Development Program grant, Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credits (based on job creation projections over a ten-year period), Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds to help enhance the skills of its workforce, and additional financial benefits, such as sales tax exemptions and tax credits for job creation resulting from the company being located within an Enterprise Zone.
 
The facility will produce 54 million gallons of ethanol per year, use more than 19 million bushels of corn annually and produce about 160,000 tons of livestock feed (distillers dried grains) each year.  (Company Contact: Barry Frazier at 314/682.3515)
 
“Our site in Illinois has great infrastructure and provides access to everything we need.  We greatly appreciate the support of Gov. Blagojevich for making this project happen,” said Barry Frazier, President of Center Ethanol Co., LLC.  Some of the major equity partners include Center Oil Company, Yorktown Investments and Shipman Elevator Company for a total equity commitment of $35 million.
 
“Gov. Blagojevich and I understand that there are innovative ways, right here in Illinois, to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, while providing an important boost to our economy.  This support for Center Ethanol strongly demonstrates our commitment, today and tomorrow, to ethanol as a viable energy alternative,” State Senator James Clayborne (D-East St. Louis) said.
 
“Gov. Blagojevich and I know that we must continue making these kinds of crucial investments that will increase the production of ethanol, which helps our farmers and protects our environment.  This new facility will not only create 35 new jobs, but it will continue our commitment of making ethanol a key component of our energy portfolio,” State Representative Dan Reitz (D-Steeleville) said.
 
“This is an important investment that will pay important economic and environmental dividends for years to come.  I want to thank Gov. Blagojevich for his commitment to increasing the availability of renewable fuels in Illinois,” State Representative Wyvetter Younge (D-East St. Louis) said.
 
Gov. Blagojevich also announced today that Biofuels Company of America, LLC in Vermilion County is receiving about $4.8 million Opportunity Returns grants to construct a new $30 million biodiesel production facility in Danville.  This project will create about 15 new jobs.  Additionally, operation of this facility will help secure up to 100 existing jobs at an adjacent soybean crushing plant.  This project is commonly known in the area by the name of one of its major investors, Bunge North America.
 
This new plant, developed by Biofuels Company of America, LLC, as a partnership between Bunge North America and Biodiesel Investment Group, LLC, will be a 45 million gallon per year biodiesel production facility.  In addition to the biodiesel fuel produced, the soybean oil the plant will use as feedstock is equivalent to about 30 million bushels of beans annually.  (Company Contact: Deborah Seidel at 314/292.2934)
                                                                             
“With the leadership of Gov. Blagojevich and the support from DCEO and IDOT, the state of Illinois has put in place the right mix of incentives to attract state-of-the-art biofuels investments like the proposed facility in Danville into the state,” said Mark Burke, President and CEO of Biofuels Company of America, LLC. 
 
“Gov. Blagojevich and I understand that by supporting renewable fuels today, we are creating a more secure future.  The only way we are going to increase our energy independence is by creating a business climate that encourages investment and innovation.  This public-private partnership is a great example of bringing new jobs to our community in way that helps us all,” State Representative Bill Black (R-Danville) said.
 
The Governor announced that the Stepan Company in Will County is a receiving a $3 million Opportunity Returns grant for a nearly $24 million expansion of its existing biodiesel production facility near Elwood.  Current production at the facility is about 10 million gallons per year, and this expansion will more than quadruple production to 49 million gallons per year.  This project will create six to eight new jobs.  In addition to the biodiesel fuel produced, the plant will use about 35 million bushels of soybeans annually.  (Company Contact: Jeff Nelson at 847/501.2299)
                             
“The proposed plant will provide capacity to supply a part of the new demand in Illinois and help our country and state reduce its dependence on foreign energy.  We appreciate the vision and support of Governor Blagojevich.  He is getting the job done on renewable fuels,” said F. Quinn Stepan, Chairman of the Board of Stepan Company.  
 
“We have a tremendous opportunity to become less dependent on foreign oil by promoting more efficient renewable fuels made in Illinois.  The investment Gov. Blagojevich is making today in Stepan will help us reach that goal while creating more good jobs, supporting our farmers and protecting our environment,” State Senator Arthur ‘AJ’ Wilhelmi (D-Crest Hill) said.
 
“I strongly believe that the key to lessening our dependence on foreign oil is to start producing renewable fuels right here in Will County.  I am very proud to support the Stepan Company as it continues to help make Illinois the national leader in the biodiesel market.  This is a wise investment in our economy that will protect our environment and position us for a more secure future,” State Representative Careen Gordon (D-Coal City) said.
 
“By investing in innovative, environmentally-friendly companies that are investing in Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich is creating a business climate that is putting more people to work.  We must reduce our addiction to foreign oil, and this is an important step in the right direction,” State Representative Jack McGuire (D-Joliet) said.
                                                                             
“Gov. Blagojevich is committed to leading the way for biodiesel by creating the largest biodiesel market in the nation here in Illinois.  Through the complete state sales tax exemption for B11, and through his support of production facilities like this one, he is certainly succeeding,” Will County Executive Larry Walsh said.
 
In June of 2003, Gov. Blagojevich signed into law a complete state sales tax exemption for biodiesel blends of 11 percent or higher, as well as for the high-ethanol blend known as E-85.  When diesel fuel costs $3 per gallon, the value of the exemption, at 6.25 percent, is 18.75 cents per gallon.  Consumers have saved more than $200 million as a result of these exemptions on B-11 and E-85 since 2003.  This valuable tax exemption has multiplied the size of the biodiesel market by 30 times since 2003 - making the biodiesel market 30 times larger than it was before.  This demand is now creating the demand for new ethanol and biodiesel plants.
 
“Illinois is one of the leaders in annual corn and soybean production, and, with Gov. Blagojevich’s vision, we are now leading the nation with new programs to support biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.  We need to aggressively support this growing industry to continue expanding our economy in a way that is forward thinking and environmentally responsible.  We are opening the door to a new era of energy independence here in Illinois, while creating good new jobs across the state,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said. 
 
Gov. Blagojevich's Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois' history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn't work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions - each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.        


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