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November 13-15, 2005
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December 13-15, 2005
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

September 1, 2000

Senate Environment Panel to Vote on MTBE Bill

Senate Environment Committee Chairman Bob Smith said his panel will vote next Thursday on his legislation to reduce reliance on the gasoline additive MTBE and require use of renewable fuels, such as grain- based ethanol.

The bill, similar to principles supported by the Clinton administration, would allow states to opt out of a federal requirement that oxygenates be added to cleaner-burning gasoline as long as they preserve the air quality benefits achieved under the clean gasoline program.

Methyl tertiary butyl ether, the most common oxygenate added to cleaner-burning gasoline, has been blamed for polluting groundwater by seeping out of storage tanks. Smith's measure would allow federal and state authorities to ban MTBE.

``It is true that MTBE has helped clean the air, but the impact on our nation's water supplies has been tremendous,'' said Smith, a New Hampshire Republican, when he introduced the bill late last month. ``It is critical for Congress to act this year to eliminate this threat to our communities.''

High Plains Corporation Announces Operating Success in Fiscal 2000

High Plains Corporation (Nasdaq: HIPC) has announced that impressive operating gains in its fourth quarter and fiscal year were obscured by two charges taken in the final quarter.

Pre-tax operating income for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000 was $5.0 million, or $.31 per share, before a write-down of the Portales, New Mexico ethanol facility and grain futures related expenses. After taxes and recognition of these expenses, the company reported net earnings of $160,354, or $.01 per share for the year. This compares with net earnings of $534,881, or $.03 per share, for fiscal 1999.

The write-down of the Portales facility to its net realizable value accounted for approximately $1.0 million of the fourth quarter loss. The sale of this facility is still pending, but has been delayed by agreement until late in the second fiscal quarter. The loss also includes approximately $1.8 million in expenses incurred liquidating unfavorable grain futures and options positions. Without these charges, fourth quarter net earnings before tax would have been $1.2 million. After taxes and these charges, all taken in the fourth fiscal quarter, the company reported a net loss of $1,213,293, or $.07 per share, compared to a net loss of $825,500, or $.05 per share, reported for the same period a year ago.

Reflecting the year's operating success, sales for the fiscal year showed an increase to $109 million from $97 million a year ago. Fourth quarter sales also were very positive, increasing to $33 million, a 38% increase over the $24 million in fiscal 1999's like period.

"This was an amazing year for High Plains," said Gary Smith, Chief Executive Officer. "Regrettably, our futures positions on grain anticipated upward pressure from weather and exports, which didn't occur. Risk management is as much an art as it is a science. It requires considerable experience and an intimate knowledge of the market and related forces. We are now coordinating all of our grain purchases in house, and the new team we have put in place to handle this function has that combination."


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