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Taft breaks ground on a new Ohio ethanol production plant
Ohio Correspondent

COSHOCTON, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Bob Taft celebrated the groundbreaking of Coshocton Ethanol’s new 50-acre ethanol production facility in Coshocton. Once completed, the plant will create more than 40 jobs on-site and is expected to produce more than 60 million gallons of ethanol within the first three years of operation.

“As energy prices escalate and our energy needs grow, we must focus on curtailing our dependence on foreign oil and developing our own clean, affordable sources of energy,” Taft said.

“Today’s groundbreaking confirms Ohio’s strength as an agricultural state and reaffirms our commitment to renewable energy sources.”

Coshocton Ethanol, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Altra, Inc. – a California-based developer of renewable fuel projects. The Coshocton groundbreaking is part of Altra’s current phase of strategic projects as it seeks to build 500 million gallons of biofuel production capacity through the acquisition of existing operating assets and the development of strategically located permitted facilities across the country with state-of-the-art biofuel refining technology.

Through the Ohio Department of Development, Coshocton Ethanol received a competitive incentive package, including an Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit, an Ohio Investment in Training grant and other financing.

Centrally located in the Appalachian agricultural belt, the Coshocton Ethanol facility will leverage the region’s prolific corn production, used to produce ethanol, as well as the extensive dairy cow industry, to which Altra plans to sell distiller’s grain, an ethanol byproduct.

“The Coshocton community welcomes Altra and Coshocton Ethanol to our home, and we are excited about its commitment to the biofuel industry,” said Coshocton Port Authority Executive Director Ed Flynn. “We are also appreciative of their substantial capital investment in our county that will result in job creation and other opportunities for economic growth, and look forward to a successful partnership for years to come.”

Upon completion, Coshocton Ethanol’s plant capacity is expected to reach 60 million gallons per year, with full-scale ethanol production to commence in October 2007. In addition to the more than 40 new jobs, Coshocton Ethanol is expected to contribute millions of dollars of economic activity to local and surrounding communities.

“The city of Coshocton, Ohio is so appreciative of Altra choosing Coshocton for their ethanol facility,” said Mayor Tim Turner. “We welcome them as our neighbors. It has been a tremendous effort by many people, but all the effort and hard work will bring jobs in an area where many jobs have been lost.”

The Taft Administration is working to boost Ohio’s position as a leader in the production and deployment of alternative fuels.

Earlier this month, Taft signed House Bill 245 which will implement key components of his energy plan, including investing an additional $1 million in the alternative Fuel Transportation Grant Program to bring more E85 and biodiesel pumps to the state; increasing the state’s commitment to using alternative fuels in state government by requiring all new state vehicles to be flex-fuel models capable of using both gasoline and E85; and doubling the state’s commitment to using E85 to 60,000 gallons a year by January 2007. At that bill signing, Taft, General Motors and Kroger announced a partnership to bring more E85 pumps to gas stations around Ohio.

Last year, Taft signed an executive order directing the Ohio Department of Transportation to use at least 1 million gallons of biodiesel fuel and 30,000 gallons of ethanol per year, and to purchase only new cars that are able to run on both unleaded fuel and ethanol.

“The state of Ohio and the Coshocton community have demonstrated a tremendous amount of vision and foresight by providing such tremendous incentives for the Coshocton ethanol facility, and we are excited to break ground for this major facility,” said Altra CEO Larry Gross.

“Coshocton is one of the prime agricultural hubs in the United States, making it an ideal place for Altra to locate a major biofuels production and distribution facility, bringing economic growth to the region.”

Taft’s Jobs Cabinet has enabled the Ohio Departments of Development and Agriculture to work with agencies to streamline processes for potential ethanol plants to deal with the state, an effort that was able to assist Coshocton Ethanol.

In his 2004 State of the State Address, Taft established the biofuel industry as a key sector for Ohio and announced a specific goal to attract ethanol producers to the state. And in 2002, Taft signed into law Senate Bill 144, creating the Ethanol Incentive Board and making ethanol plants eligible for Ohio Air Quality Development Authority financing.

This farm news was published in the July 19, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.