Biofuels Thriving in Western New York

When Governor George E. Pataki announced nearly $6 million in State funding to assist Western New York Energy (WNYE) in the development of the first state-of-the-art dry mill ethanol plant in New York State, many spoke to the project’s economic and environmental benefits — regionally, nationally and beyond.

Sited for 144 acres in the Town of Shelby, Orleans County, the $87.4 million facility is expected to annually produce a minimum of 50 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol, 250,000 tons of distillers grains, and 95,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The WNYE plant is scheduled for a construction start this summer in the Orleans County Empire Zone, and expected to begin production in January 2008. The new WNYE ethanol plant will purchase an estimated 6 million bushels of corn each year, benefiting Upstate corn farmers. Ethanol produced at the WNYE plant will be shipped by rail and truck to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other Northeast markets. “There is no doubt that biofuels production will have a significant and beneficial impact upon the agricultural industry in New York State,” said John Lincoln, President, New York Farm Bureau. “Western New York Energy will provide an expanded corn market for farmers and exciting opportunities for the growth of new commodities for ethanol production, while at the same time returning the co-product — dried distillers grains — to our dairy industry as a feed supplement.” This year’s budget includes a Renewable Fuel Production Tax Credit that makes New York companies eligible to receive a tax credit for each gallon of renewable fuel they produce. This initiative, which is part of the Governor’s energy independence plan, provides up to $2.5 million in tax savings per year, per facility. Additional support for the project was made available by Senator George Maziarz who has made available $2.5 million in economic development funding to support the project. “This new facility will help Western New York become a leader in helping to reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil,” said Congressman Thomas M. Reynolds. “I am pleased that the USDA is in the process of considering a $25 million federal package to contribute to this endeavor.”

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