Illinois ethanol maker abandons plans for new $500M facility

HENNEPIN, IL – An Illinois ethanol maker announced Tuesday that due to anti-business state legislation and burdensome international trade tariffs, they will not be building a planned $500 million ethanol facility.

Marquis Inc. announced its decision to let more than 800 acres in Illinois land options in Scott County, near Jacksonville, expire in late April, shelving its plans for the development of a $500 million ethanol facility.

Among reasons for the cancellation, Marquis Energy cited pending state legislation that would undermine the competitive business process.

“This legislation would inflate the cost of the development to the point the project would not have an adequate return on investment and would negatively impact our company’s ability to competitively bid construction projects,” the company’s CEO Mark Marquis said in a statement.

“Illinois government’s anti-business and high tax policies will require us to pursue company expansions in surrounding states. SB 1407 is an example of legislation that will negatively impact our company’s expansion plans–removing our company’s choice in construction contractors we hire and the agreed upon price between the two parties, reducing competition and inflating costs.

But recent federal trade tariff policy has added additional obstacles to the business growth.

“Additionally, recent international trade tariffs have restricted the export market of ethanol and distillers grains to several countries, including China, Brazil, Peru, and the European Union,” Marquis said.

The federal government, including U.S. Trade Representatives, have failed to reduce and eliminate tariffs on agricultural products, such as ethanol, distillers grain, soybean and soybean meal, Marquis said. The tariffs caused a reduction in corn value, leading to lower prices for U.S. Farmers and adding to an already distressed agricultural economy.

“I hope our legislators work together to tackle these trade barriers and release the stranglehold of regulations on job creators,” Marquis said.

Marquis Inc says the company chose Hennepin as the ideal site for their initial 100 million gallon per year facility in 2005. The facility’s production capacity currently exceeds 365 million gallons per year.