Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) on Renewable Energy Provisions

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“I am very pleased that the Energy bill conferees have agreed to adopt much of the Harkin/Lugar Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) as part of the energy conference report. This measure will go a long way toward boosting ethanol and biodiesel production to an all time high of 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012 and thereafter, doubling today’s production. This is 2.5 billion gallons higher than that proposed by the House. This is going to be a big shot in the arm for our farmers, biofuels producers, consumers and environment.

“I am also excited that a significant piece of “bioeconomy” legislation that I authored has been accepted into the energy conference report. The provision provides targeted biomass research and development to expand the use of farm-based fuels, chemicals and power. It also calls for grants to small biobased businesses to get their products into the market, increases purchases of farm-based biobased products by the federal government and will result in an additional one billion gallons of ethanol through federal government support for cutting edge fuels production. Through a coordinated federal effort we can bring down the cost of converting biomass - corn, soy, wheat, switchgrass and others - into effective petroleum substitutes for everyday use in our cars, homes, and businesses.

“This is a good day for rural America as these provisions will bolster income, and provide new jobs to small communities. It is also a good day for the nation’s energy security since these provisions will help reduce demand for foreign oil by replacing it with home-grown renewable fuels and products of all kinds. I hope that we see these very important provisions enacted into law as soon as possible.”