Rural development grant funds awarded
Ten Southern Illinois counties, including Union County, will receive a combined $1.2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program, REAP, to fortify rural energy.
The awarding of the grant funds was announced Nov. 1 by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill.
“Biofuels and renewable energy are key components to ensuring America’s energy independence,” Bost said in a news release.
“Farmers in Southern Illinois have experienced increased uncertainty over the last two years, but grants like these are a crucial step in ensuring that biofuels remain a part of America’s fuel supply.
“I support an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to meeting our energy needs and will continue to fight for energy resilience and reliability in Southern Illinois.”
Bost authored a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture in support of robust funding for rural energy programs, helping to secure more than double the funding from the previous year for the REAP program.
The increase will continue to help small businesses and agricultural producers in rural areas to invest in renewable energy and efficiency improvements for their operations.
The REAP grants were awarded to Union, Clark, Clay, Gallatin, Hamilton, Richland, Saline, St. Clair, Washington and White counties.
The USDA also approved a $481,768 grant under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program to retrofit dispensers for E15 at fueling stations across the nation, including in Jefferson, Clark,and Williamson counties.