Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) opened a new 300 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Columbus, Nebraska on Friday. The grand opening ceremony featured ADM President Patricia Woertz, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Nebraska Lieutenant Gov. Rick Sheehy and other honored guests.
“We at ADM are proud to harness the power and ingenuity of American agriculture to help address our nation’s energy challenges. We’re honored and privileged to have the city of Columbus, its municipal leaders and its citizens as partners in this effort,” Woertz said in her remarks.
ADM’s total ethanol production capacity will reach 1.8 billion gallons per year once a second corn dry mill in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, opens later in 2010.
In his remarks, Senator Nelson was critical of EPA’s delay in increasing the ethanol blend rate in gasoline from the current 10 percent. In a column this week, Nelson said EPA’s inaction threatens economic growth and energy independence. “It’s unfortunate that delays by the federal Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are needlessly jeopardizing our made-in-America ethanol industry,” writes Nelson. “It’s very disappointing and will also slow down development of next generation American renewable energy at a time we are striving to be more energy independent.” Nelson noted that EPA should look to Brazil to determine that ethanol blends up to 15 percent are safe, since that country uses blends as high as 25 percent with no damage to vehicle engines.