MARCH 21, 2006 - Posted at 4:38 p.m. CST
McGEHEE, AR - An administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says a proposed bio-refinery in eastern Arkansas would help reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil and create jobs for the area.
Senator Blanche Lincoln and Jack Gleason, the acting administrator of the USDA Cooperative Business Programs, heard a presentation on the biorefinery project and toured Potlatch Corporation's Cypress Bend mill yesterday.
Gleason said that if developed, the refinery would convert forest and agricultural wastes into energy, reduce the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels and increase tax revenue.
The refinery would be constructed in three phases. The first phase, which could be up and running as early as 2009, would convert the wastes into biofuel.