Ethanol plants are increasing in Missouri….with biodiesel plants beginning to develop, too—-organized as new kinds of farm co-ops. But there have been some quiet questions raised about the ways the business is being developed…and how it could change in a few years. Supporters of ethanol and biodiesel plant development say it’s not a switch from big oil to big farm…although the law says farm coops formed to build the plants can sell out to private industry after five years….and a biodiesel plant in Mexico is being built next to an Archer Daniels Midland facility. The vice-chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Bill Stouffer, says he’s not bothered by the five-year sellout opportunity. He says those who take the risks should be able to reap rewards if they want. Some of the co-ops include state legislators among their owners. Stouffer says allegations of conflict of interest are a “farce” And he says only five or six members of the legislature are involved with alternate fuel co-ops. Columbia Senator Chuck Graham, however, says any lawmaker in that position should not have voted on the bill mandating gasoline in Missouri must be 10 percent ethanol by 2008. At least one House member handled the isuse that way.
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