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Posted on  

March 14, 2001

High Plains CEO Comments on Legislative Proposals and Ethanol Industry Developments

High Plains Corporation (Nasdaq: HIPC) President & CEO Gary R. Smith, responding to numerous requests for information on the status of proposed legislation affecting ethanol, made the following statement upon his return from industry meetings:

"In the past few weeks I have attended the industry's National Ethanol Conference, the Renewable Fuels Association Board Meeting, of which I'm Vice Chairman, and a joint meeting with the National Corn Growers Association leadership.

"The focus of all these meetings was how best to structure a unified energy plan that is good for farmers, the oil industry, the ethanol industry, and that continues to clean up our air and water with cleaner burning gasoline and diesel, while limiting our dependency on foreign oil.

"While this is a very complex issue industries and legislatures must deal with, we believe all of these initiatives can be incorporated into a national energy policy that will enhance the role of ethanol.

"There is some form of legislation in almost every state to either ban MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) or to provide some provision for ethanol. On the federal level several bills have been introduced involving MTBE or ethanol and it appears that President Bush and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman both favor ethanol at this time. However, any bill that clears both the House and Senate will likely include compromises that both the ethanol industry and the oil industry are proposing.

"Whatever the outcome, everyone is still waiting for the EPA decision on the California request for a waiver from the oxygenate requirement of the Clean Air Act. The Clinton administration did not grant it and we have heard favorable comments from the Bush administration that the waiver might not be granted. A failure to grant this waiver would certainly go a long way toward solidifying ethanol's position both in California, and in the rest of the country.

"The future for the ethanol industry looks bright with a current production rate of 2 billion gallons per year, versus the 1.63 billion gallons produced in 2000, and over 40 ethanol plants currently being built or expanded. The ethanol industry is on track to double its production capacity by 2004 to meet higher demand.

"By the end of 2001 High Plains will have increased our capacity by 14 million gallons to 84 million gallons annually among our three current plant locations, and we continue to strive to reduce costs as we produce more efficiently in these expanded plants. Other corporate and industry developments, as well as our annual report, recent press releases, and a transcript of our second-quarter earnings conference call, can be accessed on our Web site, www.highplainscorp.com . The Web site of the Renewable Fuels Association, www.ethanolrfa.org , contains a full record of industry news.

"We are proud of the industry we represent and look to a bright future for the ethanol business and for our individual efforts," Smith concluded.  


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