Big things to come for Atmore

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By By Adam Prestridge
Hey Atmore, how does an extra $1 billion to $1.5 billion to the local economy sound?
That’s how much money Amyris CEO John Melo said his company could possibly invest into the City of Atmore should the 100 acres of sugar cane recently planted adjacent to Holman Correctional yield high quality sugar cane for production of jet fuel.
Gov. Bob Riley announced the state’s effort to explore the new industry and new economic opportunity for farmers in south Alabama Tuesday with other national, state and city officials. Four varieties of sugar cane is being grown, evaluated and managed by Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to determine the commercial viability of the crop in south Alabama.
According to the Governor’s Office, in an effort to reduce dependency on foreign oil, the U.S. Air Force plans to use renewable, domestic sources of fuel to replace much of the petroleum-based fuel used currently. The Air Force is certifying its aircraft to operate with biofuels and expects use of alternative fuel blends to begin by 2011 with 50 percent of its fuel being produced domestically by 2016.
Now, only time will tell. Should the sugar cane produce quality juice, more field would be planted, Amyris would build biofuel production facilities and the local economy would be more than supplemented.
Results from the testing should be available within a year.
Keep your fingers crossed.
On another note, kudos to the City of Atmore for passing the Smokefree Air Act of 2008, which prohibits smoking in all Atmore restaurants, businesses and public places, and forces smokers to keep their distance in areas that are not regulated.
For someone who fights allergies year round, I salute you.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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