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October 21, 2010
|Janice Tolley Walters, NCGA, 202-628-7001
(WASHINGTON) October 21, 2010 -- The National Corn Growers Association expressed gratitude and support for new efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the entire Obama Administration to expand the development and use of domestic renewable biofuels, including ethanol from corn. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a series of measures aimed at supporting the rural economy and reducing dependence on foreign oil.
“Because time is very short before the current Congress ends, we urge lawmakers to take the importance of this initiative to heart and move quickly,” said NCGA President Bart Schott, a corn grower from Kulm, N.D. He and other officers were present for Secretary Vilsack’s remarks. “While we support several broad efforts to extend the availability of higher blends, especially pressing is the extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit and other tax provisions to help ensure that current ethanol goals are met predominantly with domestic sources.”
Secretary Vilsack noted the many benefits and the great importance of expanding biofuels in his remarks.
"Domestic production of renewable energy, including biofuels, is a national imperative and that's why USDA is working to assist in developing a biofuels industry in every corner of the nation," said Vilsack. "By producing more biofuels in America, we will create jobs, combat global warming, replace our dependence on foreign oil and build a stronger foundation for the 21st century economy." Click here for his full remarks.
Regarding ethanol, he noted the important role of incentives.
“Incentives helped build the biofuel industry and incentives need to continue,” Vilsack said. “Congress should start by reinstating the Biodiesel Production Tax Credit and providing a fiscally responsible short-term extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit. At the same time, we need to begin to think about reforms to the ethanol credit program to make it more efficient and effective at addressing the full range of challenges we face in meeting our goals for traditional and next generation biofuels.”
Vilsack also stressed it was critical to expand the availability of higher blends of ethanol.
“Convenient store operators and marketers remain reluctant to incur the cost of new pumps and tanks,” the secretary said. “USDA and other federal departments can and should offer help. I have instructed Rural Development officials to provide financial assistance, using existing resources, to provide the resources and matching funds to help install 10,000 blender pumps and storage systems over the next 5 years. Work will commence immediately on putting that program together.”
With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to allow higher ethanol blends in newer vehicles, NCGA sees reasons to be hopeful in today’s announcement.
“We’ve long supported the expansion of flex-fuel vehicles and the infrastructure to make sure that higher ethanol blends are not just a Midwest phenomenon,” Schott noted. “We will do all we can to support efforts to bring more ethanol to more cars in more states.”
Click here for more information on the USDA’s announcement