UPDATE: White House meetings scheduled to take place Monday to discuss potential changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard have been canceled. When talks do resume, one key voice, will be missing from the table; the cities that house the biorefinery plants, like the city of Portland in Northeast Indiana’s Jay County. Portland’s City Council passed a resolution urging lawmakers to protect the RFS.
Portland Mayor Randy Geesaman says, “We would not be in the position that the city of Portland is in without the farm community and the agricultural industry. POET has been a tremendous community asset. They participate in a lot of community projects and foundations and we couldn’t have a better partner than POET has been.”
Geesaman says that POET’s investment in the community is helping to keep tax rates down and improve the local economy.
“We can actually do two or three things that we’ve never been able to and that’s reinvest back in our city in in our county. That’s been huge for us because our assessed evaluation continues to go up so that keeps the tax rate down. Also, the investment that they make, the property taxes that they pay, the wages that they pay; they say every dime that is spent in the city of Portland and in our county helps out seven-fold.”
Geesaman says he has spoken with Congressman Jim Banks, Senator Todd Young and Senator Joe Donnelly’s offices to make sure Portland’s voice is heard.
“I know for a fact that Senator Donnelly has been a longtime advocate for alternative fuels, so that’s not a problem. I think that the other two have come around and they see the importance to the economy of Indiana in the whole.”
Geesaman says that POET has talked with him about potential expansion opportunities to bring new technology to the plant, but RFS modifications could greatly impact those plans and impact how things are currently operating.
“If that all goes away on the federal level then not only would the new investment not happen in Portland, but it could definitely cause layoff and a change in the way they set up their operation here in Portland and throughout Indiana.”