Not American Enough for Biofuel Funding?

WASHINGTON (CN) – Louis Dreyfus Agricultural Industries claims the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unconstitutionally denying it federal funding for the biodiesel fuel it makes in Indiana. The Delaware-based company challenges a USDA rule that makes only biofuel companies that are 51% or more American-owned eligible for funding. Dreyfus claims that its Indiana biofuel plant created 105 jobs in a town of 250.

     The 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act set up the Advanced Biofuels Program, which “mandates that the Secretary of Agriculture ‘make payments to eligible producers to support and ensure an expanding production of biofuels,” according to Dreyfus’ federal complaint.
     Dreyfus claims the USDA violated this law and the Administrative Procedures Act when it added the citizenship restriction, without seeking public comment. Dreyfus says now the government is denying it payments to which it is entitled under the Advanced Biofuels Statute.
     Dreyfus Agriculture is a subsidiary of the Louis Dreyfus Corp., a Delaware corporation that “ultimately is less than 51% owned by U.S. citizens or nationals.”
     But Dreyfus says its biofuel plant in Claypool, Ind., uses only U.S.-produced soybeans, purchased mostly from local farmers, to produce biodiesel.
     Dreyfys claims its biofuel plant is the economic savior of Claypool.
     It claims it spent $165 million to build the world’s largest soybean-based biodiesel plant in Claypool, creating 105 jobs in a town with a population of 250.
     “The plant has provided a substantial boost to the local economy such that, for example, the Claypool elementary school, which had shut down many years ago, will soon reopen in a renovated and modernized facility,” the company claims.
     Dreyfus seeks declaratory judgment that the rule is invalid and an injunction stopping the government from enforcing it.
     It is represented by John Buckley Jr. with Williams Connolly.

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