House Democrats Take a Stand for U.S. Biodiesel

In response to public demand for new direction and leadership to meet the energy needs of America’s families, Democrats in the House of Representatives announced a plan to invest in America, grow our energy and establish energy independence. “This plan is homegrown and American-owned,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman James E. Clyburn. The plan, developed by the Rural Working Group, details the opportunities.

“The Rural Working Group’s proposal includes practical solutions that will expand ethanol and biodiesel production and will make sure that Americans can find flex-fuel vehicles at auto dealerships and biofuels at local gas stations,” said Agriculture Committee Ranking Democrat Collin C. Peterson (D-MN). In the effort to energize America by letting the farmers fuel the nation’s new energy independence, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, said “The answer is right here at home. From corn in the Midwest, to soybeans in North Carolina, to sugar beets in Minnesota, we grow the crops that can be converted into the biofuels that power our cars.” Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.), co-Chair of the Rural Working Group, suggests investing in our own country, rather than abroad. “The answer to our fuel crisis is growing in our fields. By investing in biofuels, we are not only making energy more affordable, we are also investing in rural America. Every dollar we invest in domestic biofuel production is a dollar that stays in America and creates good-paying jobs. It’s a win-win situation for America.” Parts of Energizing America call for an increase of production in American-made biofuels by doubling the percentage of renewable fuels sold in America within six years, using biodiesel and cellulosic sources, such as switchgrass. We should extend tax credits for ethanol and biodiesel through 2015 and increase tax benefits to small ethanol producers. The plan calls for increasing the percentage of “flex-fuel” vehicles that run on ethanol or gasoline. It proposes that in seven years, make 75 percent of all cars made in America flex-fuel cars. It suggests increasing the number of gas stations offering ethanol (E- 85) and biodiesel through new incentives and requirements. The plan also recommends investing in biofuels research to make biofuel production more efficient and environmentally sound. It asks for cutting-edge research to develop new processes for turning other farm products, such as switchgrass and woodchips, into biofuels. And it urges R&D in new vehicle efficient technologies. In closing, the report calls for federal incentives to build smaller ethanol and biofuel plants, to allow independent, locally owned facilities that produce biofuels to thrive, thereby improving our rural communities.
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