South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds spoke today to the National Agriculture Biotechnology Consortium conference in Brookings SD. His talk focused on biofuels and the efforts that South Dakota is undertaking to be a national leader in these emerging technologies. Specifically focusing on the development, commercialization and utilization of biofuels. Governor Rounds emphasized that biofuels should not merely be a blend with petroleum fuels, but a replacement.
South Dakota is #1 in farmer owned ethanol plants, #1 in corn used for ethanol production and #4 in total ethanol production with 550 million gallons produced in 2006 with that capacity increasing to 1 billion gallons by the end of 2008.
Governor Rounds is making South Dakota government an example of biofuels use, with all new vehicles being flex fuel and asking state employees to fill up their state vehicles at local stations using E-85 as a means to encourage the public to patronize retail outlets carrying E-85.
A state initiative called 2010 has led to the development of a new Bioprocessing center at South Dakota State University and in 2007 the establishment of Center for Drought Tolerance Crops in partnership with the private sector.
Governor Rounds is also a leader in both the Midwest Governor's Association and the Western Governor's Association in the biofuels and energy area. He stated that biofuels will play a vital role in the new energy portfolio, but traditional energy sources such as petroleum and coal will still play an important role in meeting the energy needs of the U.S.
Specifically the Western Governor's Association is encouraging the development of a new pipeline from Canada to Oklahoma. This would like the Canadian tar sands fields with the U.S. The association is also encouraging new uses for coal that can be used much cleaner with new technologies
Governor Rounds clearly encouraged the players in biofuels, coal and petroleum to help make the U.S. more energy independent. American consumers will choose their energy based upon price, quality and reliability and ultimately will help decide in the adoption of new energy sources.
Rural America clearly knows of the possibility of the biofuels boom, but also realize we are not yet fully developing the opportunities. We are the creators of our own destiny and the discussions need to be held now for future consequences.
The Governor also discussed issues at the national level and encouraged citizens to contact their members in congress to support long term extensions of the Alternative Tax Credit (ATC), Innovative Tax Credit (ITC - wind) and the gasification tax credit.