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Senate passes Domenici-Thune ethanol amendment

Senate adds 8 billion gallon RFS to Energy Bill

June 15, 2005

Washington, D.C. —  The U.S. Senate today approved an 8 billion gallon renewable fuels standard (RFS) proposed by Senators Pete Domenici and John Thune – a long-awaited victory for South Dakota farmers and American consumers.

The Senate passed the amendment (70-26) less than 24 hours after Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici introduced the amendment on behalf of Senator John Thune. The amendment will create a guaranteed market for ethanol producers, bolstering rural economies and reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.

“We are dramatically increasing ethanol demand, guaranteeing a good market for farmers and reducing our dependence of foreign oil,” Thune said. “The Senate is making ethanol a cornerstone of America’s energy policy. I hope we can move quickly to send a final bill to the President’s desk and strengthen America’s energy security.”

The 8 billion renewable fuels standard in Thune’s amendment would displace as much as 2 billion barrels of imported crude oil, lower the U.S. trade deficit by $67 billion, create $51 billion in new farm income and cut government farm payments by an estimated $5.9 billion – all by 2012.

“The 8 billion renewable fuels standard will create new jobs and invigorate South Dakota’s economy,” Thune said. “It means we’ll use more ethanol to fuel our cars and economy.”

The renewable fuels standard will also function as a rural economic stimulus package by creating the need for $5.3 billion in new investments, generating 230,000 new rural jobs. It is estimated that, overall, a new energy policy would create as many as 800,000 new jobs for Americans.

The Senate plans to complete debate on the energy bill next week. The bill must then be reconciled with the House version, which included a 5 billion RFS.

“With the 8 billion gallon level now in the Senate bill, we are in a very strong position entering the conference,” Thune said. “We came here to get things done and at the top of our list was passing an energy policy. This will be a great accomplishment that will create new jobs and strengthen America’s security.”