The Illinois Senate took action last week to pass SB46, which advances pro-ethanol and biodiesel legislation one step closer to becoming law.April 1, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Springfield, Illinois – April 1, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The Senate vote now moves the focus on renewable fuels to the House where the bill is awaiting its third reading and action by the full legislative body. SB 46, introduced by Senator John Sullivan (D-Quincy) and its counterpart in the House (HB 46) would extend and expand the State Sales Tax Credit on biofuels to 2013. Specifically, the bill seeks to extend the sales tax credit for ethanol made from corn, but at a reduced level. In addition, it would extends the tax credit for the first time to biodiesel and E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). The legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Larry Walsh (D-Sesser); Patrick Welsh (D-Peru); Vince Demuzio (D-Carlinville); and Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete), also begins an incremental phase out of the tax incentive for ethanol. “The Senate sent a strong signal in support of this domestic energy legislation so hopefully it will move quickly now through the House. This legislation will have a tremendous impact on Illinois farmers, but it will also benefit the entire public because it will encourage a growing domestic energy business that makes us less dependent on foreign oil,” said Steve Pigg, Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) president of Bushnell. The ethanol market adds about US35-cents-per-bushel to the value of corn, so it provides a real economic engine for rural Illinois as well the entire state. Ethanol cuts auto emissions giving us cleaner air and provides sustainable jobs, Pigg noted. Illinois is currently the largest producer and user of ethanol in the nation and converts 290 million bushels of corn into 754 million gallons of ethanol annually. “America is ready for the type of Renewable Energy that can grow year after year on our farms. We are importing more than 56 percent of our petroleum needs. In an unstable and unpredictable world homegrown fuels look more attractive than ever before,” said IFB President Ron Warfield. The renewable energy industry, led by ethanol and biodiesel, is experiencing its most significant growth in 30 years. Nationwide farmers produced 2.3 billion gallons of ethanol last year, an increase of 20 percent. In Illinois, biodiesel sales and production have increased dramatically over the last year.