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Governor Blunt addresses possible Ethanol plan conflict

March 7, 2006
By: Dan Frumson
State Capital Bureau

The governor reacts to a possible conflicts of interest regarding his plan for state-wide use of ethanol. The plan calls for all gasoline sold in Missouri to contain ten percent ethanol. Dan Frumson has more from the State Capitol.

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Seven state legislators invested in agricultural co-ops; they bought in to organizations that fund ethanol plants.

Their personal investments will almost certainly be helped by increased ethanol production and sales but Governor Blunt says he does not see an ethical problem.

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"It is up to members of the Missouri General Assembly to determine what issues they will vote on and what issues they'll abstain from. I'm focused on the issue; which is improving the environment, adding value to corn in a way that benefits Missouri family farmers, reducing dependency on foreign oil, and making a real positive step to insure Missouri remains a leading in the use of alternative fuel."

The governor reiterated his ethanol proposal at a meeting of the Missouri Advisory Council on Agriculture.

From the State Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.

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The governor addressed questions during his Advisory Council on Agriculture about a possible political quagmire concerning certain lawmaker's investments into ethanol. Dan Frumson has more from the State Capitol.

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Right now seven Missouri state lawmakers stand to benefit from the governor's plan to require ten percent ethanol in all gasoline sold in Missouri.

Department of Agriculture Director, Fred Ferrell, says there is not an ethics problem.

Ferrell says there are about 700 investors for the ethanol plant in Macon.

Senator John Cauthorn is one of those investors: both he and Representative John Quinn have not officially disclosed the amount of their investment.

It is unclear whether they are in violation of the law.

From the State Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson

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Governor Matt Blunt responded to the issue of whether or not seven Missouri legislatures will see a good return on their ethanol investments if the plan comes to fruition. The plan calls for requiring all Missouri gas stations to use ten percent ehtanol in all gasoline grades. Dan Frumson has more from the State Capitol.

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While some lawmakers could face a conflict of interest regarding their personal investments in ethanol, the governor expressed enthusiasm for ethanol and its positive impact for Missouri.

He says his ethanol plan is likely to pass, but also says he is concerned about back-door politics.

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"This bill, if it's defeated, it's gonna be defeated in a back room at the Missouri Capitol. No one's going to... there's not a lot of open opposition to this because it is such a good deal for Missourians. It's a win win win for so many people; win for farmers, a win for consumers, a win for the environment. I'm not as concerned about what happens on the floor, as I am sort of back room deals at the capitol."

Among the winners could be seven state lawmakers, who have personal investments in ethanol production.

From the State Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.