Recent Press Releases

Senate moves closer to passing higher ethanol requirements

Thune fights for 8 billion gallon RFS in new Energy Bill

June 14, 2005

Washington, D.C. —  The U.S. Senate began debate on the long-stalled energy bill today, moving closer to establishing a renewable fuels standard (RFS) and reducing America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.

As debate began, Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici introduced an amendment on behalf of Senator John Thune to establish an 8 billion gallon renewable fuels standard – dramatically increasing America’s reliance on ethanol. Thune said the energy bill would not be possible without the leadership of Domenici and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe.

“Passing the energy bill will dramatically increase ethanol demand, guaranteeing a good market for South Dakota farmers,” Thune said. “The Senate is poised to make 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. I am proud to work with the Chairmen Domenici and Inhofe to promote renewable fuels and strengthen our energy security.”

If the Senate agrees to Thune’s amendment, the 8 billion renewable fuels standard 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 energy policy will create new jobs and invigorate South Dakota’s economy,” Thune said. “An energy policy won’t just make it easier to fuel our cars, tractors and homes – it will fuel our nation’s economy.”

The renewable fuels standard would also function as a rural economic stimulus package by creating the need for $5.3 billion in new investments, while 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.

In his campaign for the U.S. Senate last year, Thune cited the gridlocked energy package as a primary reason for entering the race. President Bush proposed a comprehensive energy policy shortly after taking office in 2001, but was blocked in the U.S. Senate for the last four years.

“America needed an energy policy four years ago – and we need an energy policy even more today,” 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.”