Today, the Senate passed an energy bill that will give American farmers and ranchers a significant role in supplying U.S. energy needs. Most notably, the Senate energy bill expands the Renewable Fuels Standard to include 15 billion gallons for corn ethanol.  The bill passed by a vote of 86 to 8.

“The energy bill is a dynamic package that supports the existing industry and looks to the future of energy,” says Ron Litterer, National Corn Growers Association president Ron Litterer.  “This legislation guarantees a robust future market for corn.” 

The RFS for corn ethanol is part of a larger standard of 36 billion gallons identified for all renewable fuels by 2022.  Provisions in the bill include:

  • Requirement of 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2008, progressively increasing to the 36 billion gallon requirement by 2022, including a 1 billion-gallon mandate for biodiesel;
  • Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for advanced biofuels;
  • Studies on the feasibility of ethanol pipelines, higher blend levels and the optimization of flex fuel vehicles.

"Fuels from the farm are a bright spot for rural America," says Tom Buis, National Farmers Union president. "Renewable fuels have revitalized once-struggling rural communities. I commend the Senate for their support, urge the House to follow suit and the President to sign before the end of the year."

The original RFS standard was passed in 2005. It has helped expand ethanol plant production.

The extension of renewable tax incentives such as the production tax credit for wind and a national Renewable Electricity Standards were not part of the Senate's final energy bill. "I remain hopeful that Congress will address these provisions in 2008," Buis says.

The energy bill, H.R. 6, now goes back to the House for a final vote and, if successful will be sent to the President’s desk.