The U.S. House of Representatives cinched a climate of growth for the corn and ethanol industries today by passing the Energy Independence and Security Act and sending the package to the President’s desk for his signature. The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) is elated by the House’s action and commends the bipartisan leadership for recognizing renewable fuels as a priority to the nation’s energy stability.
“We can finally see the finish line in this marathon to establish a foothold for ethanol in our nation’s energy needs,” said Reid Jensen, president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. “The SDCGA has worked tirelessly with our legislative leaders to ensure a powerful Energy Bill was in place to allow for growth of grain-based ethanol and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil.”
The Energy Bill contains a 36 billion gallon renewable fuels standard (RFS) of which 15 billion gallons comes from corn.
The updated RFS catches up to the pace of the growing ethanol industry. The current RFS requires oil companies to blend 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol with their gasoline by 2012. The nation’s ethanol production will surpass that production long before 2012 forcing the industry to hit a blend wall. In the package passed out of the House and Senate, oil companies would be required to blend at least 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol with their gasoline by 2015 and 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022.
“The SDCGA commends both the House and Senate leadership for their commitment to passing a meaningful Energy Bill that will set the standard for our national energy security,” said Jensen. “We are proud that South Dakota’s Congressional delegation provided the leadership to pilot this Energy Bill to reality and protect South Dakota’s corn farmers while ensuring our local towns and communities are economically viable.”
Other provisions in the bill include:
Requirement of 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2008, progressively increasing to the 36 billion-gallon requirement by 2022, including a 1 billion-gallon mandate for biodiesel;
Increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the first congressional increase in 32 years;
Studies on the feasibility of ethanol pipelines, higher blend levels and the optimization of flex fuel vehicles.
The SDCGA now urges the President to sign the bill into law by Christmas.