Senator John ThuneEveryone is looking for the “silver bullet” to shoot down gas prices, but as with most big problems there is not one simple answer. There are, however, several different actions we can take to attack that high price at the pump and many of them can be found in the Senate’s Energy Bill.
One way is through increasing the production and use of ethanol. That is a win-win solution for South Dakota farmers and consumers.
As the details of the bill were being hammered out, we were able to attach an amendment that will more than double the nation’s required use of clean-burning biofuels over the next seven years. The ethanol mandate will require fuel manufacturers to use 8 billion gallons of ethanol by 2012.
With South Dakotans paying record prices for gasoline, promoting ethanol is more important than ever. This legislation will encourage ethanol production and help grow our economy. The bill instructs the Administration to find ways to trim 1 million barrels a day from our oil consumption by 2015 and includes a mandate to replace that oil with several billion gallons of ethanol. This move alone will help revitalize rural communities, ensure cleaner air in the nation’s larger cities and reduce our nation’s oil consumption by up to 600,000 barrels per day. By investing in South Dakota’s ethanol producers, we will strengthen our energy security and create new jobs.
It also means reducing our reliance on hostile governments for our energy needs. I applaud this move and am pleased at the support I’ve found from many other senators as we passed the Domenici-Thune ethanol amendment by a vote of 70-26.
We are dramatically increasing ethanol demand, guaranteeing a good market for farmers and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This 8 billion renewable fuels standard will create new jobs and invigorate South Dakota’s economy.
This long-delayed Energy Bill also helps conserve valuable energy by shaving 10 to 40 percent off the anticipated growth of energy demand by 2015. The Senate bill includes several important energy efficiency provisions that are the key drivers for saving energy and money. It sets efficiency standards for various residential and commercial appliances that traditionally use a lot of energy.
These standards protect manufacturing jobs because they are based on agreements between manufacturers and efficiency advocates. While protecting American jobs, they will also help business and consumers save money. The National Manufacturing Association estimates that passage of this Energy Bill will save nearly 2 million American jobs over the next decade.
In addition to promoting ethanol, this Energy Bill further diversifies our sources of energy by providing incentives to production of wind and solar energies as well as geothermal and biomass sources. Developing these energies protects our environment and addresses growing concern over carbon emissions. It includes a federal loan guarantee program to encourage the design and deployment of innovative technologies and new energies.
It also outlines an ambitious federal program to design and deploy clean coal technologies so America can continue to use its 250-year supply of coal while protecting our air and water. A hydrogen research program is also included that, in conjunction with federal labs, universities and auto manufacturers, will help design hydrogen cars.
We came here to get things done and at the top of our list was passing an energy policy. It is encouraging to see, that after four years, the Senate is finally poised to make ethanol a cornerstone of America’s energy policy and give the President an effective energy bill to sign.