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Illinois Invests $25 Million to Help Build Five Ethanol and Biodiesel Plants

To help build five new state-of-the-art ethanol and biodiesel production facilities across Illinois, more than $25 million in new Opportunity Returns grants and additional support was announced by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich. The new plants will spur about $334 million in private investment, produce 225 million gallons of biofuels each year, create almost 150 new jobs and reduce Illinois' dependence on foreign oil.

"Energy independence means not being held hostage by OPEC every time you fill up the tank with gas. These new ethanol and biodiesel plants mean more homegrown fuel that can replace foreign oil and give drivers more options and cheaper alternatives," Gov. Blagojevich said. The following five facilities will benefit from the grants: -- Central Illinois Energy LLC in Fulton County has received $6.35 million to build an approximately $100 million ethanol production facility near Canton that will create about 45 new jobs. -- Illinois River Energy LLC in Ogle County has received a $5.5 million grant to build its new 50 million gallon per year, $80 million ethanol production facility on an 81-acre site near Rochelle that will create about 45 new jobs. -- Center Ethanol Co., LLC in St. Clair County is receiving nearly $5.7 million in grants and tax credits to build a new $100 million ethanol production facility near Sauget that will create about 35 new permanent jobs, as well as 250,000 worker-hours of construction jobs. -- Biofuels Company of America, LLC in Vermilion County is receiving approximately $4.8 million in grants to construct a new $30 million biodiesel production facility near Danville that will create and retain about 115 jobs. -- Stepan Company in Will County is a receiving a $3 million grant for a nearly $24 million expansion of its existing biodiesel production facility near Elwood that will create up to eight new jobs. In June of 2003, Gov. Blagojevich signed into law a complete state sales tax exemption for biodiesel blends of 11 percent or higher, as well as for the high-ethanol blend known as E-85, which has multiplied the size of the biodiesel market by 30 times since 2003 -- making the biodiesel market 30 times larger than before. "Illinois is one of the leaders in annual corn and soybean production, and, with Gov. Blagojevich's vision, we are now leading the nation with new programs to support biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel," said Jack Lavin, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "We are opening the door to a new era of energy independence here in Illinois."

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