28 Aug Doyle, Kind call for higher renewable fuel standard
West Salem, Wis. – With only a modest renewable fuel standard contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Gov. Jim Doyle and Congressman Ron Kind have called for a much stronger federal renewable fuel standard.
During a campaign appearance at the Farmers Cooperative Shipping and Supply Association, Doyle and Kind endorsed legislation pending before Congress that would increase the RFS, and they touted the economic and energy independence benefits of a higher standard.
The two Democrats, both involved in re-election bids, said federal policy should require that 20 percent of the fuel sold by oil companies be comprised of renewable fuels like ethanol by 2015.
“Increasing the federal renewable fuel standard would be a major step toward kicking our addiction to foreign oil,” Doyle said. “We have the resources and the ingenuity to get this done.”
The standard, which some credit with accelerating growth in the ethanol industry, started with four billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel production in 2006 and 7.5 billion gallons by 2012. It also provided that, beginning in 2013, a minimum of 250 million gallons a year of cellulosic-derived ethanol be included in the RFS.
In addition to higher alternative fuel standards – seven percent by 2010 and 20 percent by 2015 – Doyle and Kind called for federal legislation to provide loan guarantees and investment tax credits for the construction of cellulosic ethanol and biomethanol facilities.
Among other measures, they also called for a 10-year extension of excise and consumption tax credits for biodiesel, federal research and development funding to develop new cellulosic ethanol technologies, and tax credits for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles, the installation of alternative refueling stations, and the retail sale of alternative fuels.
Kind said Wisconsin families are paying a “small fortune” for a short-sighted national energy policy that has failed to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, or make the necessary investments in renewable energy sources. He also said it is time the country commits itself to kicking the fossil fuel import habit “by taking bold leaps, not baby steps” in adopting a comprehensive energy plan.
This isn’t the first attempt to ramp up investment in alternative fuels. With gas prices hovering around $3 per gallon, Midwest governors – including Doyle – have lent their support to the 25-by-25 initiative, which calls for 25 percent of the nation’s energy supply to come from renewable sources by 2025. That concept also has been endorsed by a bipartisan group in Congress.
Doyle’s renewable energy plan also calls for Wisconsin to capture 10 percent of the renewable fuels market by 2030.
Last year, an amendment introduced by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, called for increasing the use of domestically produced renewable fuel to eight billion gallons by 2012. Congressional Democrats had established a goal to cut dependence on foreign oil by 40 percent in 20 years, which would represent a reduction of 7.64 million barrels per day.
In addition to adjusting the RFS, Kind said he would work to include biofuels and renewable energy sources in the federal Farm Bill that is up for renewal in 2007.
Congressman Mark Green, Doyle’s gubernatorial opponent, voted for the Energy Policy Act, and he has been supportive of efforts to promote alternative fuels. Green has introduced an economic development plan that calls for retaining younger residents, legal and regulatory reforms, revamping the state’s economic development programs, and tax relief. However, it does not specifically address alternative fuels.
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