Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Sen. John Thune introduced a renewable fuels standard bill that promises to dramatically increase the use of ethanol to improve America’s energy security and South Dakota’s farm economy.

The legislation, which Thune, R-SD, is introducing with the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, establishes a renewable fuels mandate requiring refineries to blend 6 billion gallons of ethanol into gasoline by 2012 and phases out the use of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Sen. Kit Bond, R-MO, and Sen. George Voinovich, R-OH, are co-sponsoring the bill.

The Thune-Inhofe Bill improves similar legislation that ethanol and oil producers agreed to last year, which set a 5 billion gallon requirement for refineries by 2012. That legislation was incorporated into the Energy Bill, which stalled in the Senate.

“We are improving last year’s ethanol agreement, which had broad support, but failed to pass the Senate,” Thune said. “This bill will dramatically increase ethanol demand, guaranteeing a good market for South Dakota farmers. We are making ethanol a cornerstone of America’s energy policy. We can strengthen our energy security and rural economies by increasing ethanol demand.”

Thune is offering his legislation as a starting point for this year’s energy debate. Since the relevant committee’s chairman is sponsoring the bill, Thune said his bill was starting from a strong position, and that he would work with other senators to increase ethanol use as much as possible.

”The goal is to get a bill out of committee, so that we can deliver an energy bill with a renewable fuels standards to the President’s desk,” Thune said. “We’re getting the ball moving.”

The Thune-Inhofe bill’s 6 billion gallon renewable fuels standard greatly increases the use of biofuels produced from agricultural commodities. The agreement also phases out the use of MTBE in the U.S. fuels marketplace in four years, eliminates the federal oxygenate requirement in reformulated gasoline, and protects air quality. Thune said he expects support from the petroleum and ethanol industries, agriculture and the environmental community.

“This is a common-sense proposal that improves on last year’s agreement,” Thune said. “The goal is getting a renewable fuels standard signed into law this year.”

The War on Terror is making it more important than ever to develop alterative sources of energy. Thune said increasing America’s ethanol production and consumption is critical to reducing the demand for foreign sources of oil.

“Ethanol is an important weapon in the War on Terror,” Thune said. “By embracing ethanol and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil, we will strengthen our national security.”