Monday, March 13, 2006

Legislative Set Back For Ethanol

AP story in Convenience Store News -

Idaho, Wisconsin Reject Ethanol Legislation

BOISE, Idaho -- A proposed requirement for Idaho service stations to eventually sell gasoline with 10 percent fuel made from corn or straw died in a House committee today, reported the Associated Press. While in Wisconsin, state senators voted not to pursue a similar measure during the current legislative session.

The Idaho bill to require 10-percent ethanol in gas had passed the Senate last month. Then, proponents argued Idaho-made ethanol blended with gas would help wean America from dependence on foreign oil, according to the report.

Still, critics said too many questions remain, including concerns over possible interruptions to the fuel supply. Other concerns included whether it requires more energy to make ethanol than is actually derived from the grain alcohol. Idaho lawmakers opted to study the issue this summer, AP reported.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin supporters of ethanol say the alternative fuel would give a boost to the state's farmers while creating a cleaner environment.

Several states have passed bills during the past year to require blending ethanol in their gasoline products, according to the report.

This report is in stark contrast stated in an article published about the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition and Senator Barack Obama's efforts found at the Renewable Fuels Association website.

RFA President Praises GEC, Senator Obama at GEC Annual Meeting
March 1, 2006

Washington, DC – Addressing the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition annual meeting today, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen today thanked the GEC for its tireless efforts and noted the growing bipartisan support for ethanol on both sides of Capitol Hill and across the country, as highlighted by the remarks of Illinois Senator Barack Obama during yesterday’s session.

Dinneen specifically made reference to the proclamation issued by the GEC encouraging automakers to increase production of flexible fuel vehicles (FFV), capable of using ethanol blends up to 85 percent, as well as Senator Obama’s comprehensive energy agenda as important efforts towards furthering the debate about America’s energy future.

“The debate across the country, and especially in Washington, over renewable fuels has changed dramatically,” said Dinneen. “We used to debate the merits of renewable fuels. Now, we are talking about how much can we produce and how soon can we do it.”
Currently, 95 ethanol biorefineries nationwide have the capacity to produce over 4.3 billion gallons annually. There are 34 ethanol biorefineries and eight expansions under construction with a combined annual capacity of more than 2.1 billion gallons.

What does this capacity mean to the overall issue of oil dependence and how do we get distribution of this capacity without the Government passing legislation that promotes Ethanol mix adoption? Tough questions!

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