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Public Statements

Obama Says Provision in Energy Bill to Double Ethanol Use, Invest in Clean Coal Will Help Illinois

Location: Washington, DC

Obama Says Provision in Energy Bill to Double Ethanol Use, Invest in Clean Coal Will Help Illinois
Tuesday, June 28, 2005

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Barack Obama Tuesday said the comprehensive energy bill passed by the Senate today will help the Illinois economy and start America down the path towards energy independence by doubling ethanol use, providing a tax credit for the construction of E85 ethanol fueling stations, and investing in combination plug-in hybrid and flexible fuel vehicles and clean-coal technology. However, he warned that bolder action is required if lawmakers are really serious about dealing with high energy costs that are plaguing American consumers.

"This bill is a first step toward decreasing America's dependence on foreign oil," said Obama. "It requires that 8 billion gallons of ethanol be mixed with gasoline by 2012. That is 8 billion gallons of fuel that will no longer be imported from the deserts of the Middle East, and instead grown in the corn fields of Illinois. The bill also provides a tax credit for the construction of E85 ethanol fueling stations, which will help the millions of people who already drive flexible-fuel vehicles find stations where they can purchase a fuel made from 85 percent ethanol that is 50 cents cheaper than regular gasoline.

"I am also pleased that the bill includes funding I requested for research into combination plug-in hybrid and flexible fuel vehicles that could travel up to 500 miles per gallon of gasoline, as well as more investment into clean-coal technology.

The Energy bill will do the following:

- Create a Renewable Fuels Standard that will double the amount of ethanol used by 2012.

- Provide up to a $30,000 tax credit for the construction of E85 ethanol fueling stations.

- Provide $85 million to Southern Illinois University, Purdue University, and the University of Kentucky for research and testing on developing Illinois basin coal into transportation fuels.

- Provide $40 million for research on combined plug-in hybrid and E85 flexible fuel vehicles that have the potential to drive 500 miles per gallon of gasoline used.

- Create a federal renewable portfolio standards provision that requires electric suppliers to acquire 10 percent of their supplies from renewable resources such wind, solar, geothermal, biomass or ocean by 2020.

- Provide incentives to promote biofuels from agricultural resources.

While voting for the bill, the Illinois Senator also said he believes that the legislation still falls short of what could and should be done to put America on the path to energy independence.

"But we shouldn't kid ourselves today," said Obama. "This isn't a time to pat ourselves on the back and think that an energy independent America is around the corner. Experts say that this bill will reduce our oil consumption by only 3 percent, while our own Department of Energy predicts that American demand will jump by 50 percent over the next fifteen years. We tried to pass a measure that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 40 percent by 2025, but too many said no."

"America must get serious about our energy problems and realize that our national security and economic competitiveness in the world is at stake. It's time to concentrate on energy independence as the great project of our time. The need is critical and the technology is at our fingertips - now we just to harness the political will to get it done."

The bill passed the Senate by a margin of 85-12.


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