Waynesville, MO, May 18, 2012 -- A USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary today highlighted one of the Obama administration’s latest actions to help create jobs in rural Missouri communities and promote U.S. energy independence.
“I am here today to celebrate the installation of flexible fuel pumps that will expand fuel choices for Missouri drivers,” Acting Deputy Under Secretary Judith Canales said during a visit to a Waynesville refueling station where six flexible pumps were recently installed. “Ensuring that these pumps are available throughout Missouri – and the nation – gives Americans more renewable energy choices. It is part of a broader Obama administration effort to promote an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy— reducing our reliance on foreign oil.”
Flexible fuel pumps are specifically designed to dispense ethanol/gasoline blends that can be up to 85 percent ethanol. Customers can select at the pump the ethanol/gasoline mix that is appropriate for their vehicle. The Obama administration has set a goal of installing 10,000 flexible fuel pumps nationwide by 2015. Last year, USDA issued a regulation to clarify that flexible fuel pumps – sometimes referred to as blender pumps – may be considered renewable energy systems that can be financed with Rural Development loans and grants.
Increasing the supply of flexible fuel pumps has many benefits. It reduces the time and cost for drivers to locate the pumps. More pumps mean higher sales of flex fuel blends, which increases corn sales (corn is the most common ethanol source), which in turn creates jobs by boosting the rural economy. Missouri is among the top 10 corn-producing states in the nation, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
During her visit to Missouri, Canales also met with owners of women-owned rural businesses to discuss ways USDA Rural Development provides capital and technical assistance to promote growth, expansion and job creation. Last year, for example, USDA Rural Development provided a $19,750 Rural Energy for America Program grant to a Clarksville, MO, fuel retailer. The company used the funds to purchase and install a flexible fuel pump and tank it will use to reduce local dependence on fossil fuel.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President is committed to using Federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers, and to improve the quality of life in rural areas.
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