Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain spoke to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Council of Presidents meeting in Washington DC last week by teleconference about various issues of importance to agriculture, including it’s role in America’s energy needs.
McCain heralded his “Lexington Project” to make America energy independent which includes alternative fuels, ethanol, nuclear and offshore drilling. The plan includes calling on automakers “to make a more rapid and complete switch” to flex-fuel vehicles, as well as increase support for second generation ethanol, that would involve eliminating “mandates, subsidies, tariffs and price supports that focus exclusively on corn-based ethanol and prevent the development of market-based solutions which would provide us with better options for our fuel needs.”
Obama stated that his goal would be to phase in a 2 billion gallon cellulosic ethanol renewable fuel standard into the nation’s fuel supply by 2013.
“I am not interested in rolling back the renewable fuel standard. I think it is something that is critically important to supporting the agricultural sector and rural America, and I think that the use of ethanol as a scapegoat for rising fuel prices is misplaced. If we don’t invest in American grown biofuels and advanced technologies, our nation is never going to be energy independent. And that is why I am proud to have been a consistent supporter of biofuels and I will continue to be so in the future.”