The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

New Program Supports Biofuels

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted October 21, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new multi-million dollar program to promote the production of and demand for biofuels. His announcement came on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval of E15, a fuel blend containing up to 15 percent ethanol.

According to a news release, the program will create a base of new, non-food, non-feed biomass crops to meet future demand for renewable energy. "The Obama administration is aggressively supporting our nation's farmers, ranchers and producers of biofuels as they work to bring greater energy independence to America," Vilsack said.

A reporter who attended the Secretary's speech at the National Press Club says Vilsack also called on Congress to give the ethanol industry a short-term subsidy extension and announced a program to offer grants to service stations and convenience stores encouraging them to install ethanol blender pumps. Vilsack said the Agriculture Department would like to have 10,000 blender pumps installed in the next five years, giving motorists the option of selecting their chosen ethanol blend.

The oil and natural gas industry is committed to seeing renewable fuels properly integrated into the overall energy mix, but it is concerned that the Agriculture Department's new programs could result in higher consumer costs. Further, government should base fuel changes on sound science and market forces to ensure consumers have safe and reliable transportation fuels.

API member companies have invested or committed more than $13 billion in biofuels, including research on advanced biofuels.