News Date: 03/09/2009
BISMARCK – The leading agriculture officials from 10 midwestern and western states on March 6 urged President Barack Obama to support the production and use of fuel blends that contain more ethanol than now allowed by the 10 percent regulatory cap.
"The ethanol industry is under considerable financial stress because ethanol, unlike oil, is held to less than 10 percent of the market," said North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson. "Now is the time to move forward by increasing the base fuel blend to 15 or 20 percent ethanol."
The letter to Obama was signed by Johnson and his counterparts from Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The agriculture officials said the Environmental Protection Agency’s longstanding policy limiting the base blend of ethanol to 10 percent was based on 1970s science, antiquated fuel systems designs and outdated technology. In the meantime, countries like Brazil have successfully used blends between 20 and 100 percent for many years. "The EPA implemented the E10 blend limit at a time when ethanol production capacity and conversion efficiency was a fraction of what it is today," they said. "In the 21st century, ethanol offers a sustainable solution to our country’s energy needs, while reducing our dependency on foreign oil and addressing the serious challenge of global climate change."
They also pointed out that the 10 percent cap makes it almost impossible to utilize the 36 billion gallons of ethanol mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. "Simply put, there is a government rule contradicting a government law," they said. "American ethanol production has nearly reached 10 percent saturation. We must move to a base blend of 15 or 20 percent in 2009 in order to continue growing this vital industry." (Contact: Ted Quanrud at 701-328-2233 or Patrice Lahlum at 701-239-7210)
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