Report: Ethanol pumps $2.5B into Minn. economy

(Posted by NBC affiliate KARE11-TV)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new report says Minnesota’s ethanol industry generated more than $2.5 billion in economic activity in 2009 and supported more than 6,800 jobs.

The annual report from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says ethanol production in the state increased to 862 million gallons in 2009 from 550 million gallons five years ago. It estimates production will increase to 1.1 billion gallons this year with an economic impact of $3.1 billion and around 1,500 additional jobs.

Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson says the rebound from a tough year in 2009 is good news for the state’s 21 ethanol plants, half of which are farmer owned co-ops.

In 2009, Minnesota processed about 29 percent of its corn crop into ethanol. That’s projected to rise to one-third this year.

http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=860820&catid=14

Our Take:
This is one of dozens of postings about the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s report on the economic impact of ethanol. Yes, the story even made it to nightly TV news coverage. The play this story has gotten indicates that Americans are thirsty for positive news about energy. We all know its important to hear about the current state of the Gulf oil leak (temporary cap still holding, though leaks are possible), but we all want to know how we can move forward and take positive actions for the future of energy.

 While supporters continue to battle the myths that opponents sling at ethanol (negative energy balance, competes with food production and raises food prices for consumers—all false statements), the real information about ethanol’s benefits—economic, environmental, improved national security—trumps that misinformation.

 Concrete numbers on jobs and dollars is something every ethanol supporter should keep on a card in his pocket, to take out and present to anyone who persists in ethanol mythology.

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