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Posted on  

April 8, 2002

Southwestern Indiana could become home to biodiesel plant

Sullivan County farmers and other potential investors will meet twice in the next 10 days to discuss plans to bring a biodiesel fuel plant to southwestern Indiana.

Biodiesel is a clean-burning fuel made from soybean oil, vegetable oil or animal fats. It is biodegradable and non-toxic.

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state agriculture office and other officials are expected to attend the April 15 meeting in Sullivan. The other meeting will be held Monday near Brazil.

State Sen. John Waterman, R-Shelburn, who is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, told the Sullivan Daily Times that the project is in the "planning" stages and the plant is several years from production.

Waterman said he has been researching the project for two years.

"This is the up-and-coming thing in Indiana," he said. "We need to get behind it."

Waterman said he intends to introduce a bill in the next state legislative session that would require adding a blend of at least 10 percent ethanol and 2 percent biodiesel to commercial fuels.

The Eel River Cooperative has taken an option on property near Lewis, about 20 miles south of Terre Haute, for a possible plant site. The group also has applied for a grant from the state Department of Agriculture.

"We were just a bunch of farmers that were sitting around and dreaming a little bit and saying we are going to do something for ourselves," said Dick Culler, who helps run the Clay City Feed and Grain Elevator and is a supporter of the project.



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