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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA


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Posted on  

March 12, 2002

OIL PATCH AND GRAIN BELT UNITE TO PROMOTE RENEWABLES STANDARD

Ending months of negotiations, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, a bipartisan group of Senators, and representatives of interested stakeholders held a press conference to memorialize their historic agreement to enact a renewable fuels standard (RFS) as part of the Senate energy bill.

The RFS package establishes an RFS reaching 5 billion gallons in 2012, bans MTBE in four years, eliminates the reformulated gasoline oxygenate standard while preventing air quality backsliding.

"I'm here today to express the Administration's support for the reformulated fuels package that has been inserted into the energy bill," said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "This package is going to greatly increase the use of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel …for the next 10 years and that's something we all support. [I]t leads us into the positive direction towards more energy independence and energy security. [U]sing renewable fuels is also good for America's economy [and] good for our environment."

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) stated: "You have an incredibly clear indication of the strength of support for renewable fuels here in this room. [W]e'll be in a position sometime in the next few days to pass and enact meaningful legislation providing for clean air, new alternatives to energy and a new future for this country."

"Clearly the solutions of tomorrow's energy needs begin and end here at home, and that's why ethanol is so important," said Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK). "As long as we continue to increase our dependence on foreign sources of oil, the risk to this country continues. What we need is ethanol…because every single drop of domestically produced energy in this country makes a difference. And this is crucial to our national security."

"This energy bill is a tremendous victory for Minnesota's family farmers, for our rural communities, and for the environment," said Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN). "This renewable fuels standard is a huge step forward."

"Renewables is one area in which we can grow our way out of our dependence upon foreign sources of oil," added Senator Kit Bond (R-MO). "And you've heard a lot about ethanol as an additive to gasoline, but I also want you to focus on biodiesel. In the state of Missouri, we've found that soy diesel is an extremely important part of our renewable source of supply."

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) stated: "This is a breakthrough day for ethanol and biodiesel. This will also create an enhanced market for corn and soybeans. A RFS can have as large an impact on American agriculture as any provision we discussed during our long debate in the Senate on the farm bill."

"The stimulus to the agricultural economy, by the creation of new jobs and by the investment of capital, will also assist in the continuing turnaround of our country," added Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). "This is clearly going to be beneficial to farmers. We're aware of how important it is to have less reliance on foreign oil."

"But really what this debate should be all about on the floor is not selecting winners and losers, but suggesting to all consumers that they're better off if their energy basket is full and their prices are down," said Senator Larry Craig (R-ID). "[A]ll government policy should, in a positive environmental way, be promoting all forms of energy. This is clearly one."

Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) stated: "Despite a general feeling we ought to be more energy independent, that oil, when purchased at the cost of American lives, is very expensive, it has been extremely difficult to move. This bipartisan breakthrough today is truly significant."

"Forty percent of the gasoline in our state is an ethanol blend," added Senator George Voinovich (R-OH). "I like to refer to it as harmonizing our environmental needs with our energy needs."

"The RFS is a tremendous opportunity for agriculture," said Jon Doggett of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "We will be using the commodities that we grow in abundance and our nation's farmers will be able to contribute to America's energy security."

American Petroleum Institute (API) president Red Cavaney stated: "On behalf of the U.S. oil and natural gas industries, we're honored to be a part of this historic initiative. It's a win for the consumers; a win for the farmers; a win for the environment; and also a win for our national security."

"We're here because of the commitment everyone has to domestic energy resources," said Bob Dinneen, RFA president. "We wouldn't be here today if not for a little trust and a willingness to ignore past acrimony and create a new paradigm based on mutual respect and shared interest."

"The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is fully behind the passage of the comprehensive energy bill that addresses our nation's serious dependence on foreign oil," said Fred Yoder, NCGA president-elect. "This program will probably provide greater marketing opportunities than the farm bill that's currently being debated."

Concluding the remarks was Jason Grumet of Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), who stated: "This process has been nothing if not a marathon. Absent legislative action, the environment, the economy and public health will continue to suffer from an unacceptable choice between continued water quality contamination, continued air quality contamination, and a vulnerable fuel supply. And it is for that reason we are here today to offer our strong support for this compromise."

Other organizations on hand to support the compromise included the American Coalition for Ethanol, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, National Farmers Union, American Soybean Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, and the National Grain Sorghum Producers. The American Lung Association has also sent a letter of support to the Senate.

Source: RFA
 

 

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