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April 20, 2009 - Kylie Saari
Friday, April 17, the State Auditor's office released a report recommending the legislature stop the payments to the ethanol facilities and refocus that money on developing alternative alternative fuels. Some calls I made that day for comment weren't returned before press time, and the one I did contact was generally against the move, not so much because of the effect it will have on the ethanol industry, but more because the government made a promise and should keep it. He also said the report had come out so recently he hadn't had a chance to look at it in detail. First thing Monday morning, I received a call back from Chris Radatz from the Minnesota Farm Bureau, and I found his comments telling. "It is ironic," he said, "that the auditor's office called for the end of a program that is going to end." He said the program was never meant to be on-going, and only a handful of plants are still getting the payments. In addition, he said he found it interesting that the report recommended using the money for the next generation of biofuels, even though the governor and legislative budget proposals already call for spending money on the project. It looks a little like political posturing, and even a bit like blowing smoke to me.
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