Letter to President George W. Bush
GRASSLEY, THUNE PUSH PRESIDENT, EPA TO RESEARCH AND APPROVE HIGHER ETHANOL BLENDS
Senator Chuck Grassley today said the federal government should begin the testing process to approve higher ethanol blends and ensure that demand for ethanol keeps pace with industry expansion.
Grassley, along with Senator John Thune, spearheaded an effort to send a letter to President George Bush asking him to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to approve appropriate higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, E20, and E30 in a safe and timely manner. This would be done once all required scientifically-based testing is completed, and in coordination with other relevant federal agencies and private sector industries.
"With consideration of a new farm bill as well as a new energy bill well underway, ethanol and renewable fuels are at the forefront of the discussion. And, while we've seen a tremendous jump in knowledge, promotion and usage of renewable fuels, there remain very real barriers," Grassley said. "In the absence of widespread E85 use at this time, it's important to ensure a market for today's ethanol production."
The letter comes on the heels of letters Grassley sent to several Southern governors asking that they remove their states' fuel regulations that impede the blending and use of ethanol.
Here is a copy of today's letter.
October 30, 2007
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write to you regarding the future of our nation's renewable energy sector. In particular, we want to bring your attention to the very real barriers that exist to greater use of alternative fuels by the general motoring public. Without your assistance, we feel that a great opportunity will be missed to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy.
We recognize and thank you for your strong leadership in promoting renewable fuels as a key component of our nation's energy policy. Your leadership, coupled with significant legislative accomplishments in Congress and historic private sector innovation and investment, has created a strong and growing renewable fuels industry that is creating jobs throughout and strengthening our nation's energy security.
Current ethanol production capacity totals approximately 6.8 billion gallons per year. Ethanol plants currently under construction or expansion will double this figure by adding almost 6.7 billion gallons of capacity in the next 18 to 24 months, for a total of roughly 13.5 billion gallons. Additionally, you have called for and the Senate has acted upon a higher Renewable Fuels Standard in the recently passed Energy bill that would require 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel in the coming years.
As additional production comes on-line, the ethanol industry is increasingly mindful about the short-term market demand for ethanol. Domestic ethanol production is quickly approaching the maximum market demand for E10 (10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline), which is projected to be 12 to 14 billion gallons of ethanol per year. At this production level, the blend market for ethanol will become fully supplied. While it is difficult to predict precisely when the ethanol industry will saturate the blend market and hit the "E10 Blend Wall," the federal government must now begin the testing process to approve higher ethanol blends and ensure that demand for ethanol keeps pace with industry expansion. If we fail to act now, excess production capacity could have harmful effects on the overall ethanol industry - not to mention a missed opportunity to further reduce our current dependence on foreign sources of energy.
In addition to an increased Renewable Fuels Standard, Congress and the Administration must work together with the ethanol, automotive, and small engine industries to begin the process of approving intermediate blends of ethanol blended gasoline for non-flex fuel vehicles. Upon the successful completion of the appropriate emissions, drivability, and compatibility tests, we ask that you direct the Environmental Protection Agency to approve appropriate higher blends of ethanol (such as E15, E20, and E30) in a safe and timely manner following all required scientifically-based testing, and in conjunction and coordination with other relevant federal agencies and private sector industries.
We thank you for your time and consideration of this request and for your continued support for 's renewable fuels industry.