Senate Committee to Consider Biodiesel Incentive Bill

FEBRUARY 15, 2007 - Posted at 7:32 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Senate committee is expected to consider today a bill to provide money to Arkansas companies willing to build the equipment necessary to grind soybeans into oil for biodiesel production.

The Senate Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee will take up the $20 million biodiesel incentive bill, which passed the House on Monday.

Agriculture Secretary Richard Bell says that only about 20 percent of Arkansas' soybean crop can be used to make the alternative fuel because of a lack of equipment to grind the beans and extract their oil.

The proposal, by House Speaker Benny Petrus, would offer grants to companies wanting to build such equipment.  It would also provide the state Department of Agriculture with $16 million to distribute to companies that make biodiesel fuel from soybeans or wood products.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)