A groundbreaking just south of Mason City Friday began construction on a new ethanol plant owned by Golden Grain. Robert Dineen is the President of the Renewable Fuels Association. Dineen says this one joins 73 ethanol plants across the country and fifteen more already under construction. Dineen says the U.S. ethanol industry this year will process more than a billion bushels of corn.He says that’ll make almost three-billion gallons of ethanol, and with this Golden Grain plant, Iowa will surpass Illinois to recapture the title of biggest ethanol-producing state. Senator Charles Grassley was also on hand for the groundbreaking, and said nothing will benefit the country more than strong energy policy.Grassley says the point was illustrated this summer by the blackouts in New England and the unstable prices of gasoline when refineries went down. Grassley says ethanol production will ensure that Americans have enough energy on hand when it is needed.Grassley says you expect light when you turn on the switch, and expect gas when you go to the pump, and he describes a 2-percent margin that determines whether you’ll buy that energy at a reasonable price. The Golden Grain LLC plant will employ over 40 people and produce around 40 million gallons of ethanol a year. The plant is scheduled to go on-line in the early part of 2005.
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