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August 15, 2000

Ryan Leads Farm Rally for Biofuels

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan called on Illinois residents to support biofuels produced from corn and soybeans during an Agriculture Day Rally at the Illinois State Fair on Tuesday.

"Our state is cutting edge of a clean-burning, renewable fuel that could revolution the world's economy by reducing our dependence on oil," Ryan said. "And that's why we're all here today - to tell everyone in Illinois, to tell the country and to tell officials in Washington, D.C. one thing - we need more ethanol. Just as we're doing in Illinois, the federal government and industry should embrace ethanol and promote its use."

Ryan noted that ethanol use provides a 25 cent boost to the price of a bushel of corn in Illinois and even the current modest use of biodiesel increases the price of soybeans by about 6 cents per bushel.

"Biofuels pave a better way for farmers, better air and a stronger Illinois economy, " Lt. Governor Corinne Wood added. "We look to educate the public that biofuels should be reaped for their rewards."

Ryan and Wood were joined at the podium by state and federal officials who have helped fight to maintain and expand the market for biofuels, including U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, Attorney General Jim Ryan, Congressman Tom Ewing, Congressman Ray LaHood, Department of Commerce and Community Affairs Director Pam McDonough and Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton.

Attorney General Ryan pointed to the environmental benefits of biofuels, including ethanol's role in helping Illinois meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. "Ethanol is a clean and safe renewable energy source and an excellent fuel additive to help protect our environment and preserve the clean air we breathe," the Attorney General said. "In Chicago alone, carbon monoxide emissions are reduced by 780 tons per day because of ethanol blended fuels."

Biofuel production also provides an economic boost for Illinois workers. The state is the largest producer of ethanol, and biofuel production has directly created more than 5,000 jobs.

"Ethanol in particular, makes sense for the Illinois economy because it costs less than gasoline and it is made right here," said Pam McDonough, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. "Plus, you have the flexible-fuel Ford Taurus rolling off the assembly line in Chicago, so Taurus owners can drive a car made in Illinois and fueled with ethanol from Illinois."

"Farmers must lead this charge to increase the use of renewable fuels," Director Hampton said. "Remember, our tractors can burn biodiesel, and maybe we should consider a flexible fuel Taurus or S-10 the next time we visit the car lot."

Visitors to the Illinois State Fair can judge the performance of biofuels for themselves. Thanks to a donation of 800 gallons of biodiesel from the Illinois Soybean Association, trams and other equipment on the Illinois State Fairgrounds are operating on the soy-based fuel during this year's fair.


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