Daschle offers legislation supporting use of ethanol

Daschle offers legislation supporting use of ethanol Showing the broad, bipartisan support that ethanol has gained over the years, Senator Tom Daschle has joined with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in offering Daschle's legislation to triple the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels over the next 10 years as the first amendment to the Senate Energy Bill.

"I can remember a time when most people did not know what ethanol was, and today the leaders of the two political parties in the Senate are coming together to introduce the most important piece of ethanol legislation to date," said Daschle. "The benefits of this legislation for South Dakota's economy cannot be overstated. It has the potential to raise the price of corn by 50 cents per bushel and could create 10,000 new jobs in South Dakota."

Daschle said ethanol has already had an enormous impact on South Dakota's economy.

* South Dakota has nine ethanol plants on line and two more on the way.

* Over 5,000 South Dakotans have invested in these plants, and over 500 people are directly employed by the ethanol industry in the state.

* Next year, one of every three rows of corn grown in South Dakota will go into ethanol production.

* Local corn prices have increased 10 cents per bushel near these plants.

* Ethanol already contributes more than $1 billion in new wealth and thousands of jobs a year to South Dakota's economy.

According to independent analysts, Daschle's legislation should have the following effects on South Dakota's economy:

* Create 10,000 new jobs in South Dakota [Source: University of South Dakota]

* Bring $620 million annually to the state [Source: University of South Dakota]

* Raise farm income by $1.3 billion nationally [Source: USDA]

* Increase corn prices by 50 cents per bushel nationally [Source: USDA]

"Nothing would make South Dakota's economic future brighter than creating a permanent national market for ethanol and renewable fuels," said Daschle.

The Daschle ethanol bill, which is identical to legislation passed by the Senate last year as part of the broader energy bill, would make several important changes in federal law, including:

* Creating a nationwide renewable fuels standard that will nearly triple the use of renewable fuels over the next 10 years;

* Providing special encouragement to biomass based ethanol;

* Banning MTBE in four years;

* Authorizing funds to cleanup MTBE contamination and fix leaking underground tanks;

* Providing all states with additional authority to address air quality concerns; and

* Eliminating the oxygen requirement from the reformulated gas program.

"I am optimistic we will enact this legislation. During consideration of the Energy Bill last summer, the Senate endorsed the Renewable Fuels Standard package by a vote of 69 to 30. It is my hope the Sen. Frist's endorsement will help ensure the enactment of this proposal at the earliest possible date," added Daschle.

Daschle's legislation is supported by the American Coalition for Ethanol, the American Petroleum Institute, the Northeast States Coordinated Air Use Management Agency, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Renewable Fuels Association, the Governors Ethanol Coalition, the National Farmers Union, the American Farm Bureau, the National Corn Growers Association, and the American Corn Growers Association.

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