Richland, Washington [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] With agriculture as the number one employer in Washington state, farmers there are constantly on the lookout for new ideas to expand into new markets. Couple this with the Washingtonian’s deep sense of environmental stewardship and you have the makings of a partnership devoted to developing clean, homegrown fuels.Governor Christine Gregoire just took the state one step closer to producing a greater percentage of homegrown energy through public/private ventures by approving the Energy Freedom Fund. “Whatcom and Skagit county farmers are in a good position to provide crops to biofuel markets,” said State Representative Jeff Morris (D – 40th LD), Chair of the Technology, Energy, and Communications committee and strong advocate of the energy plan. “This funding will set up factories and distribution centers necessary to make widespread biofuel production a reality and will expand markets for our farmers.” The Energy Freedom Fund (House Bill 2939) provides necessary capital to support the production of biodiesel, ethanol and other forms of green energy. The Legislature authorized $25 million in grants and low interest loans for local governments and port facilities to develop refinery and production facilities. “A new economy more reliant on biofuels will help clean our air and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Morris said. “I would like to thank the Governor for her support and look forward to working on expanding biofuel markets throughout the state.” The Energy Freedom Fund received wide bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and is part of a larger package of legislation designed to bolster the current biofuel industry, jumpstart investment in emerging ones and support the development of homegrown energy.