The hum of conversation among the people in the big room at the Macon POET Biorefinery plant on Wednesday went silent when the Secret Service member hung the Presidential seal on the podium. This was no ordinary day in Macon.

This was because President Barack Obama visited the Macon ethanol plant to talk about renewable fuels and economic recovery for rural Missouri and America. After touring the plant, he spoke for about 15 minutes to a small crowd of plant workers, local farmers associated with the plant and media representatives.

Obama emphasized that renewable energy sources such as ethanol were a way to help the rural economy grow and recover. He said that it was important that America invest in clean, renewable energy.

“I do not accept second place for the United States of America,” Obama said. “…The country that leads the clean energy economy will lead the 21st Century economy.”
Obama said the country has been able to save 700,000 jobs by investing in renewable energy. He also said that more than $800 million from the Recovery Act has gone to the ethanol industry, biorefineries and biofuel research. He indicated that the country has made a lot of progress with cellulostic ethanol, and said that the Macon plant could eventually add a cellulostic ethanol plant next to its current facility.

He talked about how the development of the renewable fuel industry in the rural areas can provide opportunities for young people to make a living without leaving home.
“There shouldn’t be any doubt that renewable, homegrown fuels are a key part of our strategy for a clean energy future, a future of new industries, new jobs in towns like Macon, and new independence,” Obama said.

After his speech, Obama shook hands with those in attendance before leaving for Quincy, where he spoke at a public event. He came into Macon on U.S. Highway 36, along which were several signs both in support and criticism of Obama and his policies. School children at Shelbina and Clarence waved as his motorcade drove by.

There were also several people gathered on a grassy hill across the highway from the plant. Some had signs from Obama’s presidential campaign, while others had signs of protest.

In any event, Obama said he was glad to visit Missouri, a border state of his adopted home state of Illinois, where he was a senator. He said the rest of the country could learn lessons from the way Missourians and Midwesterners interact with each other and get things done.

The visit was part of Obama’s White House to Main Street tour, which was designed to give the President opportunities to get away from Washington and interact with the American people. This particular visit was part of a two-day trip that included stops in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

source: moberlymonitor

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