US Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Pete Domenici (R-NM), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced legislation that increases the required renewable fuel standard from 8.5 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons in 2022.
The “Biofuels for Energy Security and Transportation Act of 2007” (S.987) requires an increasing portion of the renewable fuels consumed from 2016 to 2022 to be advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, biobutanol and other fuels derived from unconventional biomass feedstocks.
The bill supports the development of advanced biofuels by increasing Department of Energy funding for bioenergy research and development by 50% over fiscal years 2007 to 2009. This increased funding will allow for the establishment of seven bioenergy research centers throughout the country and will also establish grants for research in renewable technologies in states with low rates of ethanol production.
S.987 promotes investment in renewable fuel infrastructure by authorizing federal loan guarantees for advanced renewable fuel facilities, as well as grants to states to establish renewable fuels corridors and means to transport biomass to biorefineries.
Bingaman and Domenici expect to hold a hearing on their legislation next month.
The Senators’ proposal is of the same magnitude as the “20 in 10” proposal floated by President Bush in the State of the Union address this year, but with a five-year extension. The President had called for 35 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2017. (Earlier post.)
Earlier, the two Senators had introduced a bill (S. 962) that amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide $315 million to improve the carbon capture and storage research, development and demonstration program of the US Department of Energy.
The “DOE Carbon Capture and Storage Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 2007” would complement a bill introduced by Sens. Salazar—S.731, the National Carbon Dioxide Storage Capacity Assessment Act of 2007—to build on DOE’s regional carbon sequestration partnerships.
The Energy Committee will hold a legislative hearing on the two carbon sequestration bills in the near future, both to examine their specific provisions and to hear from experts what other steps we should be taking here in the Senate to advance the technology and utilization of carbon sequestration.