This week, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly spent a day at the Poet Biorefinery in Portland, IN. The Senator spent the day shadowing most of the jobs that are done at the ethanol plant. He told Hoosier Ag Today it gave him some new insights into the ethanol process and its importance, “When you see it firsthand, you see how many jobs are being created and how much American energy is being created.” He added that ethanol represents a great product which brings energy independence to the nation and profit to American farmers. Donnelly, a strong supporter of renewable fuel, said he will return to Capitol Hill with renewed arguments to defend corn-based ethanol from its detractors, “This industry has provided the US with a reliable source of low cost fuels that are made right here, so it is a win-win in my book.”
A measure that may come before the Senate is one that would basically eliminate the Renewable Fuels Standard. Donnelly said he would work to defeat that legislation, “I cannot think of a more foolish thing to do than to remove the Renewable Fuels Standard.” He stated the RFS has helped make the US more energy independent and that is a major national security issue, “Look at what is going on in Russia because their whole economy is based on energy.” He said the RFS is a real plus. Donnelly, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, said he also got to see how the Poet plant benefits the city of Portland and all of Jay County, “While I was at the plant, the mayor of Portland came over and expressed to me how much this plant has meant to his community.”
Donnelly worked with plant operators and lab techs to pull product samples and perform quality tests on those samples in the lab, help commodities assistants load a truck for a customer, and weigh and grade corn delivered by customers. “Donnelly Days” are an ongoing series of events where Donnelly works alongside Hoosiers in a variety of jobs and professions in communities across Indiana to gain a greater understanding of the issues most important to Hoosier workers.