Tuesday President Bush made a commitment to grant waivers to reduce regulatory obstacles and increase gasoline supplies if requested by state officials.
"I'm directing EPA Administrator Johnson to use all his available authority to grant waivers that would relieve critical fuel supply shortages," Bush said in remarks at the Renewable Fuels Summit. "If [EPA Administrator Stephen] Johnson finds that he needs more authority to relieve the problem, we're going to work with Congress to obtain the authority he needs."
Bush also announced that he directed the Department of Energy to defer filling the reserve this summer. "Our strategic reserve is sufficiently large enough to guard against any major supply disruption over the next few months. So by deferring deposits until the fall, we'll leave a little more oil on the market. Every little bit helps," he says.
Also in Bush's remarks on energy and gasoline supplies he expressed renewed commitment to furthering technology research and commercialization to convert cellulose from energy crops and crop residues - such as wood chips, corn stalks, and switch grass - to ethanol.
"With industrial biotechnology processes that use enzymes to convert crops and crop residues to fermentable sugars, the United States could produce over 70 billion gallons of ethanol a year from cellulose-containing crop residues, such as corn stover and stalks, sugar cane bagasse, wheat straw and rice straw," says Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of Biotechnology Industry Organization. "These biofuels can be cheaper than gasoline and diesel, saving us about $20 billion per year on fuel costs by 2050."
President Bush pointed out that converting crop residues to transportation fuel has the added benefit of producing billions of dollars in extra income for farmers and rural economies. "Ethanol from cellulose is also environmentally friendly, reducing net carbon dioxide emissions. The Presidentâ€™s biofuels initiative can help bring ethanol from cellulose to filling stations throughout the country within a few short years, if we start now to build the biorefineries needed to produce large volumes of this domestically grown fuel," Greenwood continues.