Monday, December 22, 2014

Ethanol plant welcomes Jenkins visit

By The Herald Staff | 5/14/2014

GARNETT — A Kansas congresswoman’s trip back to the Sunflower State included a jaunt Tuesday to an ethanol plant in Anderson County.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, visited East Kansas Agri-Energy LLC Tuesday for a plant tour and in-depth discussion of the importance of the ethanol industry to Garnett and the nation as a whole, the company said.

“Our employees and leadership were able to spend quality time with Congresswoman Jenkins explaining the ethanol production process and recent production innovations,” Jeff Oestmann, East Kansas Agri-Energy president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday. “We were able to put faces and names to jobs we create and support in Kansas and show our pride in producing a consumer fuel choice that is helping America become cleaner, safer, more energy independent and economically secure.”

Established in 2005, East Kansas Agri-Energy is a 45 MGY ethanol production facility in Garnett, the company said in a press release. In addition to 45 million gallons of ethanol, the facility also annually produces more than 200,000 tons of distillers grains (livestock feed) and over five million pounds of corn oil. It purchases more than 16 million bushels of corn each year, most of it from local corn farmers adding value and economic vitality to surrounding rural Kansas communities.

“We appreciate the timing of Congresswoman Jenkins’ visit; it is a pivotal time for the ethanol industry,” Oestmann said. “The Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency in particular, is considering scaling back ethanol blending requirements for 2014. A decision of this nature could impact Garnett and chill investment in future advances for East Kansas Agri-Energy and the entire next generation of the biofuels industry. There is also a cry by oil supporters for Congressional action limiting or ending ethanol’s use. To have Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins here, spending valuable time learning firsthand what we do, how we do it, and how this industry benefits the greater good through lower fuel costs, a better environment, and less dependence on foreign oil was deeply appreciated.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program that requires oil refiners and blenders to use increasing amounts of various renewable fuels, the company said. It is currently six years into a 15 year program and culminates in the required consumption of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2022. Last year, the ethanol industry, powered by the Renewable Fuel Standard, created and sustained more than 383,000 jobs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent, displaced 462 million gallons of imported oil, and saved consumers an average of $1.00/gallon in 2012 and 2013, the company said.

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