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Posted on  

April 15, 2003

Hoeven signs ethanol bill

By Xiao Zhang
Herald Staff Writer

BISMARCK - Gov. John Hoeven on Monday signed into law the bill subsidizing North Dakota's ethanol production.

The new law will provide incentive for the state's two existing ethanol plants in Grafton and Walhalla and to any new plants that might be built. The money will be given out on what officials call a counter-cyclical basis, increasing when ethanol prices are low and corn prices are high.

"Ethanol is a good fit for our farmers, our rural communities and the environment," Hoeven said.

The total subsidy could cost the state more than $3 million over the next biennium. Alchem in Grafton will be eligible for $600,000 of state subsidy per year, and the ADM plant in Walhalla, $300,000. Some $1.28 million will go to new plants, if any, built in the state.

About $2.8 million of the incentive will come from 40 percent of farm vehicle registration fees, and $285,000 will come from one cent withheld from the agricultural fuel tax fund.

Lawmakers supporting the legislation said the new law is good for the economy and can help reduce the United States' reliance on foreign oil.

Mike Clemens, president of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association, said 30 million gallons of ethanol production uses about 11 million bushels of corn and can create 415 jobs.

Hoeven, who is serving as the vice chairman of the Natural Resources Committee of the National Governors Association, said the new law will give the state a "running start" on building funds for ethanol production.

Both existing plants have received state subsidy for years. Officials say they intend to phase out incentives to these plants.


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