Highland News Leader

Madison County forms Energy Advisory Board

Citing the importance of the energy-related businesses in Madison County, Chairman Alan J. Dunstan has announced the establishment of the Madison County Energy Advisory Board.

“It is important that Madison County develops and carries out a strategy that will benefit our residents, protect existing jobs in the energy sector, and assist the businesses in the energy sector,” Dunstan said at the Advisory Board’s first meeting.

The chairman said the county’s role will be to protect the businesses and assist them in their respective dealing with local governments and navigating the myriad of laws and regulations which affect companies in the energy sector.

“In addition to the federal government, the companies which refine or generate energy deal with numerous state agencies and literally hundreds of local taxing districts,” Dustan said. “If Madison County can make it easier for those companies, our partners in the energy industry, we will be in position to protect existing jobs and, hopefully, create new ones.”

The members of the Advisory Board include Melissa Erker of Phillips 66 (Wod River Refinery), Jim Potje of Ameren Illinois, Andrew Jones of Southwestern Electric Co-Op, Brad Ross of Abengoa Bioenergy, Matt Schrimpf of the HWRT Oil Co., Don Vichitvongsa of Sun Coke Energy, Kevin Conner of Linde Inc., Dan Cook of the city of Highland electric system, and Courtney Breckendridge of the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center.

In addition to the chairman, Frank Miles, administrator of Madison County Community & Economic Development, will represent Madison County on the Advisory Board.

Dunstan said Madison County must continue to capitalize on its business-friendly environment, research and educational institutions and location to attract businesses and create jobs.

“The county has been successful in planning and taking advantage of its location and becoming one of the premier logistical and inter-modal distribution centers in the country,” he said. “Now, it is important the county utilizes that same, strategic approach to the energy sector.”

A number of important issues were addressed at the first meeting of the Advisory Board, including permits and working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the issue of taxing districts, preservation of enterprise zones, interaction with local officials, and sales tax issues with respect to equipment.

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