Years of hard work and diligence are about to pay off for U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.) and his staff. The Senateâ€™s overwhelming passage July 29 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes four renewable fuels provisions that Sen. Talent sponsored. The energy bill, which passed 74-26, provides a blueprint for the supply, delivery and efficient use of energy resources of all kinds including renewable resources such as ethanol and biodiesel.
"Passage of the energy bill is a real victory for Missouri," says Sen. Talent, a member of the Senate Energy Committee who helped craft the bill. "The legislation will help lower energy prices for consumers by diversifying our energy supply and promoting energy of all kinds. There are also significant conservation and efficiency measures in the bill. Iâ€™m especially pleased the final package includes a robust renewable fuels standard, which will help lower gas prices over the long term. Renewable fuels are at the heart of economic growth and jobs for the future; at the heart of energy independence from foreign energy producers; at the heart of environmental quality; and at the heart of value-added agriculture for our family farmers and producers."
Missouri Farm Bureau president Charles Kruse says the comprehensive energy bill has been one of Farm Bureau's top priorities for many years. "This bill means we'll be less dependent on foreign oil," Kruse says, "and farmers producing crops like corn and soybeans will play a big role in helping meet our future energy needs."
High energy prices cost farmers an additional $6 billion dollars to produce food and fiber in 2003 and 2004, according to Farm Bureau.
Other members of Missouri's Congressional delegation playing key roles in the energy bill include Sen. Kit Bond and Congressmen Roy Blunt, Ike Skelton and Kenny Hulshof.
The U.S. House has also passed the energy bill. Now the legislation will be sent to the President and he is expected to sign the bill into law soon.
The energy bill also includes the following renewable fuels initiatives:
7.5 billion-gallon renewable fuels standard
Working with Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Sen. Talent helped negotiate the renewable fuels standard. It could add 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol, biodiesel and other renewables to the nationâ€™s fuel supply by 2012.
Talent-Obama E-85 Tax Credit
Senators Talent and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) added to the Energy Bill their bipartisan legislation to increase the availability of fuels blended with 85% ethanol. Talent and Obamaâ€™s legislation provides a tax credit incentive of 30% through 2010 for switching one or more traditional petroleum pumps to E-85 fueling systems. E-85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% petroleum gasoline.
Talent-Lincoln Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension
Senators Talent and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) added a measure extending through 2010 the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit designed to make soybean-based biodiesel fuels cost competitive with conventional diesel fuel. Sen. Talent also worked on this initiative with Congressman Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) who was the chief sponsor of the companion legislation in the U.S. House.
Talent-Lincoln Small Producer Tax Credit
Senators Talent and Lincoln also attached to the bill a provision expanding the 10-cent-per-gallon small ethanol producer tax credit to those who produce up to 60 million gallons annually and establishes the tax credit for small biodiesel producers that make up to 60 million gallons of biodiesel per year.