Wisconsin passes ethanol bill

By Luke Geiver | April 15, 2010
Posted May 19, 2010

The "ethanol bill" has been signed into law by Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. Senate Bill 279 streamlines the process for the management, development and research of biofuels. State Rep. Scott Suder-R., who worked on the bill with State Sen. Scott Kreitlow-D., said Wisconsin needs the bill for jobs, for the environment and to make the state competitive in the renewable energy sector.

The bill focuses on the way research and development is managed by state run departments; expands state programs that support the production, harvest, storage and transportation of all feedstocks, and establishes an advisory council. "We essentially make sure the citing requirements have to be streamlined," Suder said regarding proposals for new plants or expanding existing plants. "We require in the bill the departments to develop a plan to streamline all regulations." Suder said the current system does not provide a clear avenue for ethanol plants and different departments are supplying different answers. "Right now there are a lot of hoops to jump through," Suder added.

Although it doesn't emphasize or promise funding, it does provide better communication. Part of the bill will create an advisory council that will study and report on the best management practices for biofuel production. The council will be made up of industry experts and others concerned and vested in the industry. Suder said the reports will come to him and Kreitlow roughly every month and he will report and educate others in the legislature on the findings.

Part of the studies will include feedstock use. "We encourage and will work, after the studies, to create a new process for feedstock use," Suder said. "Our legislation is actively encouraging new feedstock use."

Neal Kemmet, general manager of Ace Ethanol LLC in Stanley, Wis., said the new bill helps to grow the state's bio-industry. "We are pleased with the bipartisanship leadership of Gov. Doyle, Sen. Krietlow and Rep. Suder in bringing this bill into law," Kemmet said. "This bill will expand the use of biofuels in the state of Wisconsin, preserve jobs, protect our environment and move the country toward energy independence."