Bush calls for less oil dependence - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bush calls for less oil dependence

January 24, 2007

Mitchell County--  President Bush is calling for an aggressive approach to reduce United States dependency on foreign oil. Over the next decade, he wants 20 percent of US gasoline consumption replaced with alternative fuels.

South Georgia will help fulfill that goal. Leaders at one emerging plant are eager to spread ethanol to the nation. The plans are laid out and things are moving along for First United Ethanol, LLC in Mitchell County.

"10,000 moving parts you know trying to do something like this," said FUEL Chairman Murray Campbell.

FUEL broke ground this month on what will be a 100 million gallon ethanol facility. They'll produce ethanol from start to finish.  Chairman Murray Campbell says the method isn't new.

"You just have to think back years ago to the old moonshining days. It's really the production of ethyl alcohol. We're going to use corn as feedstock and then we're going to that ethyl alcohol and you basically denature it," said Campbell.

The end product would help ease air pollution along with some of the United State's dependence on foreign oil. That's something President Bush is pushing.

"I think it was very appropriate and very interesting that he would use the State of the Union Address to elevate the renewable fuels industry and alternative fuels and our need for more energy independence in this country," said Campbell.

That independence comes with a strong proposal from the President, 20 percent less dependence in just ten years. "20 percent of our nations mobile fuel molecules coming from renewable resources in ten years. That's about 35 billion gallons," said Campbell.

Although that's a bold number, Campbell and other leaders of Georgia's first large commercial ethanol plant feel it's doable.

"It's certainly achievable but it's going to take some innovation, some research and it's going to take a lot of dedication on behalf of the industry to meet that thing but we can," said Campbell. And just maybe the Peach State could lead the way in achieving the goal.

"Georgia has a real ability and a real opportunity to lead the nation in biofuels production," said Campbell.

Right now, First United Ethanol is finishing up the dirt work. Construction should begin by April and actual production should begin by summer of next year. More than 50 people will be employed at the facility.

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