Wisconsin Ethanol Coalition: Workers, Experts, Labor Leaders Agree: Ethanol Means Good Jobs for Wisconsin

Contact: Joshua Morby (414) 791-9120

MADISON – Workers, labor leaders, experts, and biotech executives from around the state agree that expanding ethanol use will create new jobs and economic growth in Wisconsin.

“Ethanol means a lot to the working people in the Friesland area. The average wage at the United Wisconsin Grain Producers ethanol plant is approximately $43,000 each year, plus health insurance, retirement benefits, and a profit sharing plan,” said John Haas, an employee at the Friesland ethanol plant. “These are the high wage jobs we want to grow in Wisconsin.”

President Bush was in Wisconsin Monday promoting clean energy and ethanol. The State Senate soon will consider Assembly Bill 15, which gives all Wisconsin drivers the choice of 10 percent ethanol in regular gasoline. AB 15 will spur new jobs, lower emissions, lower gas prices, and reduce the state’s dependence on foreign oil, and Governor Doyle has pledged to sign it into law once it reaches his desk.

There are currently four ethanol plants on line in Wisconsin and two more under construction, and this legislation could lead to the construction of 10 new ethanol plants to meet demand.

“Ethanol will build an industry in our state that benefits multiple employment sectors,” said Terry Hayden, Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association executive board member. “The construction of one ethanol plant will create 100 jobs over four months for pipefitters alone. Our focus for Wisconsin must be to expand the economy and create family-supporting jobs; ethanol can do just that.”

That assessment comes from “Community Impact of Biodiesel and Bioethanol Plants,” software developed by UW’s Renk Agribusiness Institute based on an input-output analysis. A typical 40 million gallons per year plant that employs 32 people inside the plant will create 3.4 times that many jobs outside the plant for a total of 141 jobs. That plant would conservatively sell $60 million worth of ethanol each year and create total industry sales of $102 million.

“Ethanol plants have a major job and community impact,” said Professor T. Randall Fortenbery, Department of Ag and Applied Economics at University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Creating 10 new plants this size could create at least $1 billion in new economic activity and 1,410 new jobs.”

“Our company is working with ethanol producers to increase the efficiency of ethanol production by 10 percent using biotech enzymes to get more fuel out of our corn,” said John Biondi, Chief Operating Officer at Lucigen Corporation in Middleton. “This bill will help us promote solutions to use other crops like soybeans and switchgrass for fuel, and improve the quality of feed from ethanol plants.”

Wisconsin currently imports all of its oil from other states — $6.5 billion worth last year – which accounts for a 130,000 job drain from the state.

A recent study from the Energy Foundation showed that Wisconsin could grow all of its own gasoline by 2050 with a major commitment to ethanol.

The Wisconsin Ethanol Coalition is a diverse group of businesses, environmental groups, and statewide and local organizations that have come together to build both public and legislative awareness of ethanol issues in Wisconsin. The ethanol industry is proud to have the support of both Republican and Democratic legislators, as well as Governor Doyle.

For more information, contact www.wisconsinethanol.com.