Recently, a group of business leaders from Jo Daviess and Carroll counties visited the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma to discuss the regional economic impact of the closure of the Savanna Army Depot. During this visit, the business leaders asked the Sac and Fox Nation to consider working in partnership with Illinois groups to create private sector business opportunities that would improve the economic and job situation in Carroll County and the surrounding region.
The Sac and Fox Nation sent a delegation to Carroll County to evaluate the opportunities on two subsequent occasions. As one of the results of these visits, the Sac and Fox Nation have expressed an interest in partnering with Illinois groups to build a 100-million-gallon per year ethanol plant for the region.
According to the Kansas Corn Commissions Web site, the U.S. ethanol industry is the fastest-growing energy industry in the world, and ethanol (produced from corn and/or grain sorghum) is currently used in 30 percent of U.S. gasoline. In November 2004, the Nations Corn Growers Association stated, Ethanol and the ethanol market is the single most successful and fastest-growing value-added market for farmers and is contributing to rural economic development in the form of jobs and farm income.
The primary reason for the growth of the ethanol industry is the replacement of MTBEs (methyl tertiary butyl ether is a fuel oxygenate added to reduce carbon monoxide and ozone levels; however, MTBEs are also contaminating surface and ground water) in fuel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that each gallon of ethanol produced domestically displaces seven gallons of imported oil. On Nov. 19, 2004, the National Grange reported a USDA study estimated that a 100 million gallons/year ethanol production facility would create 2,250 jobs for a single community.
The Nation is presently working with First North American Corporation. Transglobal Properties, Ltd. (a tenant at Eagles Landing Development), the Jo-Carroll Depot Local Redevelopment Authority, representatives of the Army and other interested parties in the region to obtain the necessary project support.
The Sac and Fox Nation anticipates setting up a regional office at Eagles Landing Development to provide project support staff and to serve as a project information center. The Nation hopes that a community project steering committee will be created composed of a broad cross-section of interested parties to advance the project in a way that is sensitive to the land and community needs.
It is with this sensitivity to the land that the Nation hopes to participate in the construction of a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly ethanol plant in the region that will economically help the communities within an 80-mile radius of the ultimately selected ethanol plant site.
Janet Anderson, the contact person for the project, may be reached at (815) 777-9020.