President Obama and Secretary Vilsack have developed a national strategy for job creation and economic vitality through investment in green energy technology and businesses. USDA Rural Development can now help finance flex-fuel pumps through its Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP). Administrator Judy Canales saw those two initiatives intersect when she toured the new ICM pilot cellulosic ethanol facility in St. Joseph, Missouri.
The tour was a joint effort between Kansas and Missouri Rural Development to emphasize the future economic impact of biofuels on our nation’s economy and to highlight the new REAP rulemaking that provides grants for blender pump installation at filling stations and convenience stores. The ICM pilot facility is a joint project between ICM and Lifeline Foods which is a 700-member cooperative that has farmer members in both Kansas and Missouri. ICM is headquartered in Wichita, Ks. and has constructed over half the ethanol plants in North America.
According to Greg Krissek of ICM, “Infrastructure investment made possible by the REAP program will be critical to enhancing the availability of biofuels to consumers. And enhanced availability will be critical to growth of the biofuels industry.” ICM plans to commercialize their new cellulosic technology in 2012.
Administrator Canales reinforced the Administration’s message of support for the biofuels industry and development of new green energy technologies to meet our nation’s growing energy needs but also as a way to invigorate our economy. Following the ICM tour, Canales met in Manhattan, Ks. with a stakeholder group that is very interested in promoting the new flex-fuel pump rollout through the REAP program. Stakeholders included commodity and farm organizations, representatives of the fuel retailing and marketing groups, state agencies, biofuels companies and university researchers.
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