Ethanol Issues Addressed at South Dakota Forum

Cindy Zimmerman

Vilsack SandlinRep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Monday for a Rural Issues Forum in Bath, South Dakota which was attended by an estimated 300 people who were able to ask questions about issues impacting the rural economy.

South Dakota’s contribution to biofuels production was discussed during the forum. Rep. Herseth Sandlin joined 28 members of Congress in sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting approval for allowing gasoline blends to contain up to 15 percent ethanol. A final rule is expected from the EPA by December 1 and Vilsack said he expects the agency to meet that deadline.

Rep. Herseth Sandlin also brought up her concerns with the EPA’s proposed rule for the implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) included in the Energy Bill passed in late 2007 and the proposed rule including indirect land use changes impacting lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with biofuels production.

“Ultimately, if the EPA can’t get it right, I support requiring EPA to make the comparison of emissions from biofuels and gasoline the central issue, rather than the questionable science of indirect land use that would be devastating to the renewable fuels industry and our country’s energy independence,” Rep. Herseth Sandlin. “It’s vitally important for economic development in South Dakota and for our nation’s energy independent future that the EPA correctly implement the RFS – and bases its rule on fact, not fiction.”

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