The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) praised the U.S. Senate for acting on two important pieces of ethanol legislation: a new, slimmed-down energy bill and Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC).Washington, D.C. – February 19, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R- New Mexico) introduced a revised US$14 billion energy bill, S. 2095, which includes a 5-billion-gallon Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and Small Producer Tax Credit. National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Dee Vaughan expressed delight over the U.S, Senate’s efforts to legislation forward on ethanol, the renewable fuel that is made from corn and other grains. Vaughn now looks forward to a swift vote on the energy bill. “We’re finally seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel on RFS,” said Vaughan, a corn grower from Dumas, Texas. “But we’re not there yet — floor amendments are always a possibility. We urge the Senate to vote the bill through as soon as possible.” Vaughan also commended the Senate for passing the highway reauthorization bill, which includes VEETC. The tax credit will generate more than $2 billion per year in additional Highway Trust Fund revenues and maintain an important incentive for the use of renewable fuels. VEETC allows greater refinery flexibility in blending ethanol and eliminates criticism that ethanol robs the Highway Trust Fund. Through letter-writing campaigns, visits to Washington, D.C., and other grassroots efforts, corn growers have lobbied for the inclusion of RFS and VEETC in energy legislation. Vaughan says it appears as if that work is finally paying off. “This has been a three-year effort and it hasn’t been easy, but we got our message across. It’s gratifying to know our lawmakers believe in a Renewable Fuels Standard,” Vaughan said. “The RFS provides for expansion of the ethanol industry by requiring 5 billion gallons of renewable content in motor fuels by 2012. Aside from providing a vehicle for rural development and economic growth, this is an important move to enhance our nation’s energy security.” In order to get the energy bill to the floor, Domenici slashed the bill’s price from $31 billion to $14 billion. He made several cuts to the original bill, the most prominent of which is the elimination of MTBE safe harbor provisions. “We shaved off half the cost and still pump more than 800,000 new jobs into our economy,” Domenici said in a statement. “The ethanol provision alone will do more to bring new life to rural America than anything that has passed through Congress in the last two decades.” According to Domenici, the cooperation of bipartisan Senate leaders helped get the energy bill to the floor. Domenici commended U.S, Senate Majority Leader Bil Frist (R-Tennessee) and Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) for their work to pave the way for a swift Senate vote on this bill. The National Corn Growers Association mission is to create and increase opportunities for corn growers in a changing world and to enhance corn’s profitability and usage. NCGA represents more than 33,000 members, 25 affiliated state corn grower organizations and hundreds of thousands of growers who contribute to state checkoff programs.