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Senators Introduce Bill for Immediate Boost in Ethanol Requirements

Impatient with Congressional progress on the energy bill passed by the Senate in June, US Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a bill to update immediately the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) to require the production of 18 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2016, including 3 billion gallons of advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol.

The legislation will amend the Clean Air Act to implement the RFS requirements that were included in the Senate energy bill. However, negotiations between Senate and House on competing energy bills have stalled, and the new RFS has yet to take effect.

We need to increase domestic production of clean, renewable biofuels for national energy security. While the backbone of that industry has been, and continues to be ethanol from corn, we know we need to develop and commercialize biofuels made from cellulosic feedstocks as well. Our farm bill will support that advanced biofuels development. In the meantime, we also need to ensure steadily expanding markets for biofuels, markets that currently are being pinched by limited product distribution channels and consumer access. This new standard is precisely the bridge required to support the steadily expanding use of biofuels to replace more of the gasoline powering the vehicles on our highways.

—Senator Harkin




Illinois and Iowa... both corn states.
And both wrong.

We don't have enough farmland for that ammount of biofuel.

Much less the distribution setup.

Furthermore, Ethanol is anything but beneficial to "clean air".

Then there's the massive water requirements

And the water contamination

The fact that it sucks for infrastructure.

And that the CAFE loophole has done nothing but increase our consumption of petroleum, and more than most FlexFuel vehicles big gas guzzlers.

And oh yeah, the massive increase in greenhouse gas emissions.


Sorry you dont get it Senators! The rest of the country(even me in Chicago)dont give a hoot about your "farm bill".
Now if you were truly interested in RFS, youd be trying to promote/develop/use the real-deal biofuel, biodiesel into locations outside of the midwest (the whole rest of the country) where even a 5% drop in the diesel fuel pool would be welcome and relatively easy to accomplish.


Harkins would sponsor legislation to make us wear corn cob hats if he thought it might pass.

Ethanol helps his constituents. I rather suspect it helps his campaign contributors even more.

Obama on the other hand seems motivated only by a desire to help the nation.


Barack Obama is just as much a Senator from a corn state as Tom Harkin is.....


yeah, if anything, obama is motivated by putting forward a "green" image for his campaign.

...stephen colbert '08...


Why even bother with biofuels? It's all a ruse by environmental enemies like Obama, Kennedy, Clinton. They hate clean air and love... Nukes, coal and oh of course, big oil. Can't fool us!


Look at this one

Ethanol is good for america..

Jim G.

"environmental enemies like Obama, Kennedy, Clinton"

Sulleny-- are you joking? Either way, I'm laughing. They may not be saints, but the Republicans are a few orders of magnitude worse. Try running Gail Norton for President and see how the Sierra Club reacts.

The CAFE exemption is stupid, and cellulosic ethanol is more what we want than corn (unless you're a Grey Falcon), but right now in the US there isn't a financially independent domestic cellulosic ethanol industry, certainly not with a bloc in Congress ready to back it to completion like corn ethanol has. The way I see it, at least there's a prospect these corn ethanol outfits, once they develop to a certain point, will have a growth incentive to force them to put capital behind cellulosic ethanol development, something the big refineries opposing this don't and won't have till all the oil is gone.

Grey Falcon: have you noticed that you complain about the lack of ethanol pipelines and then complain again if farm Senators propose building new or converting existing pipelines? I always thought that was one of the weaker anti-ethanol arguments anyway, as it's so solvable.

avid g

WTF is up with the lack of interest in biobutanol? I don't get it. It is easier to produce than ethanol, works in any blend up to 100% in any gasoline burning vehicle, produces lower emissions than gasoline, is transportable via the current pipeline network...etc...
I guess the only reason it is not being pursued is that it works well in old pre-80's era cars and in motorcycles, snowmobiles, chainsaws, lawn mowers, etc..without ANY fuel system modifications or retrofits. It might put people out of work, reducing the politicians tax collecting...AHA! THERE'S THE RUB!

Jim G.

Is butanol easier to make? I thought it was on par with cellulosic ethanol, and at this point neither straightforward nor profitable.

avid a g

You are right, Jim G. Butanol is on par with cellulosic ethanol, but the fact that it is useable by ANY spark ignited IC engine made (including a Ford flathead V8!) without requiring expensive modifications to the fuel system and at about the same air to fuel ratio (11:1 vs gasolines 14.7:1) all while cleaning up emissions ... WOW this almost sounds like one of those "too good to be true" scenarios. All i can say is: "Please, Lord, provide us with the means of producing this product which will be beneficial to all. And quickly! The ethanol solution has failed!"

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