Congress says ‘no’ to ethanol amendment


WASHINGTON – Congress failed to pass a provision last week that would have doubled the amount of corn used in ethanol production to 2 billion bushels by 2012.

Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., pulled the renewable fuels standard from the stalled comprehensive energy bill and added it as an amendment to Internet tax legislation.

“The renewable fuels standard will help reduce our dependence on oil imports, and we can’t implement it soon enough,” Daschle said.

Energy bill. “This is another missed opportunity to enact legislation to help resolve America’s energy problems, boost rural development and farm income and improve the environment,” said Dave Frederickson, National Farmers Union president.

Last fall, the renewable fuels standard was added to the energy bill, however legislators have disagreed on the energy bill for three years.

Because of elections, legislators doubt the energy bill will be passed this year.

Controversy. The most controversial element of the renewable fuels standard is a liability waiver for methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) manufacturers.

MTBE is an additive, used to meet the oxygenate requirement, that has contaminated drinking water.

In an attempt to break the impasse, Daschle agreed in February to consider legislation without the MTBE protection.

“The games must stop,” Frederickson said. “Congress must move past the controversial problems within the energy bill that have not and will not pass and fully embrace the prospects of producing more farm-grown fuels.”

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