Senate Hearing Focuses on Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

In the face of increasing unrest in the Middle East and higher gas prices, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met this morning to review Department of Energy (DOE) biofuel programs and biofuel infrastructure issues.

In testimony before the committee, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen stressed the importance of expanding the marketing for ethanol-blended fuels to meet the goals of federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

“At a minimum, federal policies should maintain and extend existing tax incentives for higher level ethanol blends to allow for continued growth, expand tax incentives for refueling infrastructure, and create new consumer-based tax incentives to encourage the purchase of FFVs,” Dinneen testified.

Read Dinneen’s testimony here.

Bill Brady, CEO of Mascoma Corporation and Chairman of the recently formed Advanced Ethanol Council, also testified before the committee on the need to make significant strides in the commercialization of advanced and cellulosic ethanol.

“The technologies are ready. Putting in place a consistent, long-term federal policy for advanced and cellulosic biofuels including significant focus on higher-blend ethanol infrastructure and FFVs is critical to continued development in the United States and its ability to continue to keep pace with clean energy investments of other countries,” Brady testified, urging Congress to maintain DOE’s authority and funding to provide renewable energy loan guarantees. “To cross the valley and start construction of projects in 2011, this loan guarantee authority represents the best available tool for many projects,” he said.

Read Brady’s opening statement here.

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