Ethanol Plant Slated for Rochelle

By: Jason Lanning
By: Jason Lanning

New jobs and extra money for farmers per bushel of corn are in store for people living in and around Rochelle. A private group of farmers are coming together and investing in a $68 million ethanol facility.

The facility will only take a year to construct and economic developers in Rochelle say it's just one more project that will add to the growing industrial and transpiration facilities south of Rockford.

The plant will add 30 new jobs and save farmers in the area 3-15 cents per bushel of corn in shipment fees.

The rising demand for cleaner fuel has helped sparked the project. Economic development director Ken Wise says Rochelle is one of the best locations for the ethanol facility.

Major highways like I-88 and I-39, as well as access to Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern senate railroads are nearby. Before construction on the ethanol plant begins land will have to be annexed into the city of Rochelle, then rezoned from agriculture to industrial. It will cost the city around $3 million to run sewer, water and electric to the property.

The good news, taxes aren't expected to go up in Rochelle; in fact, depending on the success of the plant they may go down.

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Ethanol Facts

Consumer Benefits

  • U. S. consumers use more than 16 billion gallons of high performance, cleaner burning ethanol-blended gasoline each year.

  • Ethanol increases oxygenate supplies, reducing the need for MTBE imports and helping to reduce consumer costs.

  • Ethanol is a high-octane blending component used by many gasoline marketers -- helping to keep this important class of trade viable and creating competition for the major oil companies.

  • Since the petroleum refining industry is running at near capacity, the ethanol industry helps extend our petroleum supply, thereby helping moderate fuels costs to consumers.

Economic Benefits

  • More than $3 billion has been invested in 57 ethanol production facilities operating in 20 different states across the country.

  • The ethanol industry is responsible for more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs, creating more than $1.3 billion in increased household income annually, and more than $12.6 billion over the next five years.

  • The ethanol industry directly and indirectly adds more than $6 billion to the American economy each year.

  • The demand for grain created by ethanol production increases net farm income more than $12 billion annually.

  • Increases in ethanol production offer enormous potential for economic growth in small rural communities. USDA has estimated that a 100 million gallon ethanol plant could create 2,250 local jobs.

Environmental Benefits

  • Ten-percent ethanol blends reduce carbon monoxide better than any other reformulated gasoline blend, more than 25 percent.

  • Ethanol is low in reactivity and high in oxygen content, making it an effective tool in reducing ozone pollution.

Source: www.ethanol.org (American Coalition for Ethanol Web site) contributed to this report.


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