The Senate voted 70–26 today to incorporate the 8-billion-gallon Renewable Fuel Standard into the energy bill. The proposal, offered by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Domenici, sets 2012 as the year in which the RFS must be met.
Correspondingly, the Senate shot down 69–28 an attempt by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to strip away the provision. Schumer called the requirement to use ethanol in gasoline nationwide “nothing less than an ethanol tax levied on every driver” and a “boondoggle” to benefit farmers at the expense of motorists. (Earlier post.)
Opponents, mainly from the West and Northeast, said ethanol should not be required in states where it is not needed to reduce air pollution and is not readily available. Most ethanol is produced in the Midwest.
Supporters of the measure said ethanol—made almost exclusively from corn—is a way to reduce demand for foreign oil and boost U.S. energy security. (Washington Post)
Also during the Senate debate on the Energy Bill, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) offered an amendment increasing the mandated reductions in oil consumption beyond the 1 million barrels per day specified in the bill that emerged from committee.
The Cantwell amendment targets a 40% reduction in oil imports in 2025 from the level currently projected by the EIA: some 19,110,000 barrels per day. Doing the math, that works out to a reduction in daily oil consumption of 7.64 million barrels per day.
The Senate has yet to vote on the Cantwell amendment.