Environment Panel Approves Renewable Fuels Bill

Ethanol Mandate Would be Good for Delaware Farmers

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2005) –The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week passed legislation that would call for a dramatic increase in renewable fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a member of the committee and a longtime backer of biodiesel and ethanol, said the legislation would be a boon for Delaware’s corn and soybean farmers. “We need to do all we can to encourage the use of renewable fuels,” said Carper. “Increased production of ethanol and biodiesel means cleaner air and a lessened dependence on foreign oil. A strong renewable fuels mandate is also good for Delaware’s farmers and the new soy-biodiesel factory being built in Clayton.” The legislation would create a comprehensive program to increase the use of renewable fuels in the United States. The bill would require the production of 3.8 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2006, increasing to 6 billion by 2012. The legislation would also phase-out the use of the controversial fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which has been used in reformulated gas to make it cleaner-burning but has also been linked to drinking water contamination in many states. EPA has recommended a repeal of the standard that required MTBE be used in reformulated gas in order to reduce MTBE pollution, though it has insisted that gasoline remain clean-burning. The legislation includes a backstop to make sure that gasoline remains clean, despite the MTBE phase-out.