Blunt Says Energy Production Means American Jobs
ST. JOSEPH - Set aside the arguments of energy independence, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt believes, and increased domestic fuel production still makes sense. It means jobs, he told a St. Joseph gathering Friday afternoon.
Speaking to workers at the Ag Processing Inc. plant, the Republican lawmaker said the nation uses electricity, gasoline and diesel fuel at a stable rate no matter the nation's economic condition.
"If there is an absolute certain marketplace, it's the energy marketplace," Mr. Blunt said. "The more of that you create in the United States, you do it with American jobs."
The senator's St. Joseph stop was the first in a series of statewide events focused on energy issues. AGP officials called it fitting since the Lower Lake Road facility not only produces biodiesel fuel but proves the city's largest electrical consumer.
"We're very energy conscious," said Terry McClatchey, marketing manager at the soybean processing plant.
Mr. Blunt used the occasion to repeat his call for all varieties of domestic energy generation, from drilling for oil to natural gas refracturing to development of alternative fuels.
As the nation strives to figure out the next generation of energy supply, he said, vehicles still need their tanks filled at least for the next 20 years.
"Wind and solar are fine, but it's going to be the more traditional things, the traditional fuels that include biofuels, that keep us going for a long time," the senator told about 20 employees gathered in a conference room.
"The product you work with every day is probably as versatile as anything we've ever come up with in terms of the various ways it fits into the food chain (and) the fuel chain."
Mr. McClatchey said the plant has a crushing capacity of 125,000 bushels of soybeans a day. (The crushing process separates soybean oil from the bean meal.) Its crushing machinery recently underwent a $90 million upgrade, putting in place a new extraction process.
The long-standing plant, a vegetable oil refinery in addition to its last five years as a biodiesel manufacturer, employs about 180 people.
John Campbell, an AGP senior vice president, told the senator that the energy portion of the operation suffered for a time but has rebounded with a federal tax credit and renewable fuel standard.
"The last couple of years without the biodiesel tax credit has been very difficult in our business," he said. "Now, we're kind of back in the groove."