U.S. Senate Passes Renewable Fuels Standard

Much to the satisfaction of the Bio-fuels ethanol industry, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Frist/Daschle renewable fuels standard (RFS) fuels agreement to its comprehensive energy bill, S. 14 at the end of last week. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) declared the RFS amendment is the cornerstone to a necessary, national energy policy. The RFS amendment was passed by a vote of 67 to 29.

Washington D.C. – June 9, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “The overwhelming vote in support of the RFS fuels agreement sends a strong signal that Congress is ready to confront this nation’s pressing national energy issues – MTBE water pollution, increasing gasoline prices, and foreign oil dependence,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president. “Only the RFS fuels agreement will immediately reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce gasoline production costs, and provide a national solution to MTBE.” The RFS provisions, backed by a coalition including members of the oil industry, agricultural groups, environmental and public health groups, and the ethanol industry, bans MTBE, eliminates the reformulated gasoline oxygen standard, enhances clean air rules, and establishes a minimum renewable fuels standard that grows to 5 billion gallons by 2012. “We’re proud to be a part of this historic coalition supporting the RFS fuels agreement,” said Dinneen. “It’s rare when one policy can positively impact so many different public concerns. Given the previous passage of an RFS by the House, we are confident a final RFS fuels agreement will reach the President’s desk this year.” Prior to passage, the Senate voted 69 to 26 to defeat an amendment by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) that would have restricted the RFS to only Midwestern states. Along with the defeat of two earlier anti-RFS amendments by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the Senate is strongly on record supporting a national program to increase domestic, renewable fuel use. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman applauded the Senate for passing the RFS amendment and cited job growth as a major benefit in addition to environmental factors. “This Amendment is positive news for America’s farmers and rural residents,” Veneman said. “By raising the demand for farm products, this proposal would boost prices of corn and other crops, raise income for farmers and create more rural processing businesses. This in turn will create or maintain and estimated 13,000 rural jobs with 23 percent of them arising in farming, 21 percent in food processing and 56 percent in the nonfood sectors. New technology is increasing the demand for agricultural products by discovering alternative uses that not only increase returns to producers and create jobs in rural areas but also provide consumers with products that are better for the environment.”
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