Florida leaders gather to promote renewable energy

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is continuing to move forward with his efforts to promote the production of renewable energy in Florida, including ethanol made from agricultural waste and other woody products.

Bronson is kicking off the 2007 Farm to Fuel Summit on Thursday, July 19 to bring together hundreds of industry leaders in agriculture, petroleum, academia, financial institutions and the government who want to make Florida a leader in the production of renewable energy.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is the keynote speaker Thursday morning and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink will also be speaking. The summit includes presentations on such topics as “Cellulosic Ethanol” and “Biofuels for Consumers”.

“The public wants and deserves to have access to reasonably priced fuels that do not harm the environment,” Bronson said. “The technology exists to produce clean, alternative fuel and this conference will bring together all the stakeholders so we can continue the momentum. We can reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while at the same time provide another source of income for our struggling farmers.”

Participants will hear about where Florida currently stands with alternative fuel production facilities, the latest production technologies and will present ideas for the future direction renewable fuels in this state.

“I think bringing together the best minds from the various industries can make that happen, Florida can be a model for other states to follow,” Bronson said.

Bronson will also recognize an award winning middle school student for her achievements in energy projects. As an elementary student and as a seventh grader at Jefferson Middle School in Merritt Island, Erin McCaskey has won 9 awards, including one from the Navy and first place in the junior division of the Florida Engineering Foundation Annual State Science Engineering Fair.

“Erin exemplifies the direction our state is heading in energy production,” Bronson said. “Alternative fuels are the energy of the future and young people like Erin will help carry this vision into the future.”

The 2007 Farm to Fuel Summit follows a Florida Energy Commission meeting that is being held at the same location today from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Florida Marriott Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club.

Bronson will give opening remarks at 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning followed by the keynote address by Governor Crist and later panel discussions. The summit will close on Friday with a roundtable discussion on Florida’s energy future with key policymakers and with an appearance by Florida Congressman Tim Mahoney

For more information about the Farm to Fuel Summit log onto the Department’s Web site at http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/ and click on the Farm to Fuel link at the bottom of the page.

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