NCGA is strongly encouraging senators to support the bill in its current form and to strongly oppose amendments that seek to limit the potential of grain-based ethanol or put restrictions on production agriculture. The bill includes a 36-billion gallon renewable fuels standard by 2022, of which 15 billion gallons must come from corn ethanol. The remainder must come from cellulosic sources such as corn stover and fiber.
“This legislation blazes a trail toward more robust, more diverse, and more affordable domestic energy supplies,” says McCauley. “And it does so in a manner that is environmentally and economically responsible.”
He adds that corn growers are confident they can produce 15 billion bushels of corn by 2015, which would allow the stated 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol without affecting other corn markets. A wide variety of feedstocks will be needed to satisfy the bill’s long-term biofuels goals, he notes, and corn growers support developing viable markets for cellulosic feedstocks.
The legislation also authorizes an ethanol pipeline feasibility study, flex fuel vehicle optimization research, higher ethanol blend level studies, cellulosic feedstock pilot programs, as well as loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy producers.
The Senate energy bill, also known as the Reid/Bingaman bill, combines items of bills from four committees: Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; Foreign Relations; and Commerce, Science and Transportation. Important for corn growers is the inclusion in the bill of S.987, the Biofuels for Energy Security and Transportation Act of 2007.