Annawan Mayor Kennard B Franks applauds Patriot Renewable Fuels for how much their ethanol plant (and soon to be biodiesel facility) has done for the local community. “Patriot has helped us immensely,” said Mayor Franks.
He noted that they knew they were in a great spot on Interstate 80 along with the railroad routes and two natural gas pipelines running east and south of town. Yet they didn’t have the money to build the infrastructure needed to prepare the area for an ethanol plant. Enter @Patriot Fuels (Patriot Renewable Fuels). With the taxes that Patriot paid, Annawan was able to do $12 million in infrastructure and equipment upgrades without raising tax rates.
Mayor Franks said that for many small communities across the country, they can’t afford to make the appropriate updates but when an ethanol plant comes to town, these improvements are made. Not only that, but local businesses see a boost and in the case of Annawan, population 986, their school system was saved in part because the state of Illinois has not been able to keep up with payments. In addition a new bank came to town and their local hotel has seen a significant increase in business as have the local restaurants. And the local Shell station added a truck stop to cater to all the trucks delivering corn and picking up ethanol and by products at the plant.
But maybe most important, said Mayor Franks, they have helped to develop 600 acres along the Interstate that is ready for business. He thinks two perfect businesses would be a tilapia fish farm where the fish could eat distillers grains produced at the plant, and a greenhouse where the CO2 from the plant would be used to as nutrients for the vegetables in the greenhouse.
I asked Mayor Franks what would happen if worst case scenario next year I drove down Patriot Way and Patriot Renewable Fuels was not operating because the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been crippled by the effort of Big Oil. It would have a tremendous impact on the city said Mayor Franks.
“Between 2000 and 2012 total sales increased in Annawan 123 percent when during that same time period the Illinois retail sales increased by 24 percent,” explained Mayor Franks. “Those numbers would probably reverse.” He added that the town would survive but it would no longer be the town that people wanted to live in as it is today.
I also asked Mayor Franks what the EPA and the Obama Administration and America needed to know about the RFS. “I guess what they need to know is that they should increase the mandate to 20 percent rather than decreasing it,” answered Mayor Franks. “Plus they don’t know the economic impact not just here in Annawan but all over Illinois and Iowa and Nebraska. If all these ethanol plants went away, what the impact would have on the farmers. I just don’t think people realize that a big impact that would be if it happened.”
Listen to my interview with Mayor Kennard B. Franks here and learn about the benefits of Patriot to the community and the negative ripple effect that would tear through the town and throughout the country if the RFS goes away: Annawan Mayor Kennard B Franks Applauds Patriot
Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.