Missouri governor gives Policy Keynote Address at National Ethanol Conference

Bob Holden chairs 26-state Governors' Ethanol Coalition
By | March 01, 2002
Missouri Governor Bob Holden, chair of the 26-state Governors' Ethanol Coalition (GEC), presented the Keynote Policy Address at the Renewable Fuels Association's 7th Annual National Ethanol Conference: Policy and Marketing. Holden served eight years as State Treasurer prior to being elected governor in 2000. He became chair of the GEC on January 1, 2002.

Governor Holden addressed the conference during the noon luncheon on Thursday, February 28, at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, California. In his address, the governor called upon states to support renewable fuel production as a way to safeguard against international instability, promote rural economics and protect the environment.

"With the events surrounding Sept. 11 weighing heavily on our minds, the time is ripe for a shift toward renewable fuels," Holden said. "By recognizing the nearly unlimited potential that renewable fuels offer, we can change energy production in this country."

As chair of the GEC, Holden said one of his main goals is to increase ethanol use and decrease the amount of oil used nationally for transportation purposes. Holden, who also supports adopting a national renewable fuels standard, left funding for ethanol incentives in this year's state budget nearly intact because of the positive return on investment. He encouraged his counterparts in the coalition to promote similar incentives for value-added agricultural products and cooperative marketing arrangements, such as Missouri's ethanol cooperatives.

Missouri is home to two farmer-owned ethanol plants - one near Macon and the other in Craig, near St. Joseph. Studies show that the two plants have created more than 1,800 new jobs, increased economic activity by $173 million and generated nearly $18 million in additional tax revenues. In addition, Missouri has the capacity to open three more plants, which would generate another 9,000 new jobs and nearly $90 million in tax revenues.

"Missouri has invested in an ethanol incentive fund to assist these new plants," Holden said. "I am proud to say the state has achieved more than a 900 percent return on its investment."