June 16, 2002

could help

local sugar

cane crop


Special to this newspaper

WASHINGTON (MNS) — The smell of victory is still sweet for Larry Fleming a month after his effort succeeded to get Congress to give Imperial Valley farmers, and his company, the right to grow sugar cane despite depressed sugar market conditions.

But if Fleming, co-founder of Imperial Bioresources LLC, has any victory champagne left, he may want to save it for another toast because the Senate energy bill headed for negotiations with House lawmakers could give his company some tax relief.


‘‘We'd be interested in any goodies the government is promoting,'' Fleming said.

Imperial Bioresources hopes soon to produce sugar, ethanol and electricity from sugar cane. Under the Senate's energy bill, the company could get around a 1-cent tax credit for every kilowatt-hour of electricity sold to a third party, said Jaime Steve, legislative director for the American Wind Energy Association.

The Senate version expands the tax credit to those who use plant matter for purposes other than just generating energy, and some experts close to the issue say the House version does the same, although that could not be verified.

Efforts to expand benefits to producers of so-called ‘‘green power'' have been aided by large corporations such as Alcoa Inc. and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., better known as DuPont, which seek tax credits themselves for using green energy.

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