Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Governor signs second Heinz bill supporting algaculture, jobs, new energy production

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson (District 29), sponsored and Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill on Tuesday that promotes algaculture in Arizona. The legislation supports the development of new energy and job creation in Arizona.

Heinz sponsored HB 2226, a bill to give algae farms the same lower property tax rates provided to other farming businesses. This would make algaculture, or algae farming, more economically feasible and would promote an industry that has unique potential in Arizona.

“This emerging industry has broad possibilities in our state,” Heinz said. “Arizona has abundant sun, flat farmlands and a climate that is ideal for algae farming. These are circumstances we should not squander.”

Algae have many uses including pollution reduction and the production of biodiesel and jet fuel. Research into algae as a potential fuel source began during the oil embargo in the 1970s and attracted new interest several years ago when gas prices began to spike.

“We have a chance to get ahead of the game with this energy source,” Heinz said. “HB 2226 and HB 2225 will help in that effort.”

Heinz also sponsored HB 2225, which adds algaculture, the growth and harvest of algae, to the definition of agricultural state trust lands. This will allow the Arizona State Land Department to issue agricultural leases for algaculture operations. Last week the governor also signed this bill into law.

“By including algaculture in the definition of agriculture, we provide additional opportunities for algae farmers to support innovation,” Heinz said.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved HB 2225 and HB 2226 on bipartisan votes.

“This is an example of how legislators can set aside partisan bickering to focus on what’s important to Arizonans, creating jobs and improving the economy,” Heinz said.

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