LANSING, MI --- Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation aimed at advancing the state's efforts to expand the production and use of renewable fuels in Michigan.
The 11 bills were part of a series of recommendations from the state's Renewable Fuels Commission, established in 2006. The legislation includes five additional renewable energy renaissance zones, creation of a Renewable Fuels Fund to promote the production and use of alternative fuels, and new tax incentives for the purchase of equipment capable of harvesting biomass and the conversion of existing gasoline pumps to pumps capable of delivering ethanol, biodiesel or other forms of renewable fuels.
"Michigan is committed to leading this nation to energy independence, and to meet that goal, we must foster renewable fuel research, production and use across our state," Granholm said. "This legislation will make Michigan even more attractive to renewable fuel producers looking to grow their businesses and create jobs."
Public Act 329 of 2008, sponsored by Representative Frank Accavitti (D-Eastpointe), adds five additional renewable fuels renaissance zones in Michigan, bringing the total to 15. Renaissance zones are specific geographic areas designated as tax exempt to encourage economic development. Additionally, the new law requires that five of the state's renewable fuels renaissance zones be designated for facilities that focus primarily on cellulosic biofuel production.
Public Acts 314, 332 and 334 of 2008 create tax incentives for the use of agricultural machinery that can harvest both grain and biomass. These bills encourage farmers to invest in equipment that will allow them to harvest their crops while also collecting biomass residue from the crop or grain that can be used in alternative fuel production. The bills were sponsored by Rep. Paul Condino (D-Southfield), Sen. Patty Birkholz (R-Saugatuck) and Rep. Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard), respectively.
"The next generation of alternative fuel will be produced from non-food sources like wood waste, switchgrass, algae or other waste products," said Granholm. "Creating incentives to help ensure that the research and production of these next-generation fuels are done here in Michigan will help ensure that the jobs created are here, too."
Public Acts 321 and 322 of 2008, sponsored by senators Cameron Brown (R-Fawn River Township) and Michael Switalski (D-Roseville), respectively, create a new Renewable Fuels Fund to promote the production and use of alternative fuels in Michigan. Citizens will have the option to contribute to the fund through a new check off on the state income tax form.
Also signed by the governor were:
-- Public Act 313 of 2008, sponsored by Rep. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City), which requires the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) to develop rules regulating the quality and purity of biodiesel;
-- Public Act 320 of 2008, sponsored by Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw), which requires the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to publish an inventory of available sites for renewable fuel plants;
-- Public Act 330 of 2008, sponsored by Rep. Geoff Hansen (R-Hart), which requires the MDA to compile public information about establishing an alternative fuel production facility in Michigan;
-- Public Act 335 of 2008, sponsored Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D-West Branch), which provides a Michigan Business Tax credit for gas stations that convert existing gasoline pumps to biofuels pumps; and
-- Public Act 333 of 2008, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City), which extends the sunset on the Renewable Fuels Commission until 2012 and asks the commission to report on the location of alternative fuel producers in Michigan, the amount of alternative fuel sold and the economic impact of the industry.