Senators Seek to Spur Usage and Development of Biofuels

March 27, 2007
04:02 PM
WASHINGTON – Responding to calls for reduced dependence on foreign sources of oil and cleaner sources of energy, U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici today unveiled legislation that will dramatically expand the use of renewable fuels in America over the next two decades.
Bingaman and Domenici, who lead the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today announced that they have introduced the Biofuels for Energy Security and Transportation Act of 2007 (S.987), which builds on the Energy Policy Act to create new renewable fuel standards and promote their usage and development.
The legislation will require America’s fuel supply to contain higher amounts of renewable fuels, from 8.5 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons in 2022.  From 2016 to 2022, the bill requires an increasing portion of the renewable fuels consumed to be advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, biobutanol and other fuels derived from unconventional biomass feedstocks.
The bill supports the development of advanced biofuels by increasing Department of Energy funding for bioenergy research and development by 50 percent over fiscal years 2007 to 2009. This increased funding will allow for the establishment of seven bioenergy research centers throughout the country and will also establish grants for research in renewable technologies in states with low rates of ethanol production.
“One of the biggest energy policy questions facing us is how to diversify energy supplies for transportation,” Bingaman said.  “As our first committee hearing of the year demonstrated, the United States faces significant energy security challenges stemming from our dependence on foreign oil.  Biologically derived fuels will have an important role to play in promoting our energy security.”
“I’m pleased to be introducing this landmark legislation which will dramatically expand the use of renewable fuels in America.  The time has come for clean burning biofuels like ethanol to join the mainstream.  By doing so, we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and secure our nation’s energy future.  I look forward to quickly moving this legislation through the Energy Committee and bringing it to the floor,” Domenici said.
S.987 promotes investment in renewable fuel infrastructure by authorizing federal loan guarantees for advanced renewable fuel facilities, as well as grants to states to establish renewable fuels corridors and means to transport biomass to biorefineries.
Said Bingaman, “Different regions of the United States have diverse fuel needs and a mixture of biomass resources.  These centers will help to tailor our future programs to those regional needs and resource opportunities.”
“One of the main goals of this bill is to spur development of advanced biofuels, like celluosic ethanol.  This legislation sets an ambitious standard for advanced biofuels, combined with incentives to spur timely production.  Developing this technology is an important part of our overall energy future,” Domenici said.
Bingaman and Domenici expect to hold a hearing on their legislation next month.