Legislative issues related to biofuels on both the Illinois state level and the national level are priorities for the GROWMARK agricultural cooperative system this year, according to government affairs director Chuck Spencer.
On the state level, Spencer says Illinois will be looking at updating sales tax incentives this year with the pending introduction of 15% ethanol blends in the consumer marketplace. “The state of Illinois has been very good at recognizing the benefits and values of biofuels, not only for the economic opportunities but also for consumers,” he said. “Right now we have a tax credit focused on E10 and as we know E15 is making it through the approval process on the national level so we’re looking at how we can adjust our state programs to match up with the increased levels of renewable fuels, 15% or even higher for ethanol in the gasoline supply.”
On the national level, maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard is important for GROWMARK and its grower members. “We are one of the larger renewable fuel distributors in the nation,” Spencer said. “We can foresee the productivity of supply on the ethanol side continuing to provide a benefit in keeping fuel costs down for consumers and we’re getting ready to plant one of the largest crops we’ve seen in quite a while so agriculture is ready to meet the demand and we’re hopeful that the rest of the country understands how important that is.”
Since GROWMARK is part owner in a Missouri-based biodiesel plant, Spencer says renewal of the biodiesel tax incentive is also important to them.
Listen to my interview with Chuck Spencer here: GROWMARK's Chuck Spencer