Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune (R-SD) along with Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) today introduced a bipartisan 36 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) amendment to the 2007 Farm Bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate. The RFS requires that gasoline sold in the United States contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel; and was developed in collaboration with refiners, renewable fuel producers, and many other stakeholders.

"As oil approaches $100 a barrel, America needs to decide if we are going to send our energy dollars to rogue leaders like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or use these funds to encourage family farmers across our great country to grow crops that can be converted to ethanol. Rather than funding the hostile regimes of those opposing our interests, it is time for America to invest in domestic alternative energy sources," said Thune. "Breaking this nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy is absolutely critical and achievable. America has the resources, the will and the need to produce more of our energy here at home."

Senator Thune's amendment would continue the renewable fuel success story currently underway in rural America. This amendment would create a guaranteed market for America's ethanol producers, which will strengthen our nation's rural economies and displace billions of barrels of imported crude oil.

In 2005, Senators Thune and Domenici authored the original RFS provision, which was included in the 2005 Energy bill. The current RFS is 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2012. America's ethanol industry is expected to reach 7.5 billion gallons of capacity by the end of 2007, four years ahead of schedule. Senator Thune's amendment would require 8.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008, then would ramp up to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Senator Thune's amendment would provide an immediate boost to the ethanol industry.

Senator Thune's amendment would require that 21 billion of the 36 billion gallon RFS threshold be met by advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. This RFS requirement would complement the cellulosic ethanol provisions already in the Senate Farm Bill, including Senator Thune's Biofuels Innovation Program provision, which expand the cellulosic ethanol industry; grants and loan guarantees for commercial scale cellulosic biorefineries; and funding for cellulosic ethanol research and development.