The new Energy Bill, which combines mandatory increases in vehicle mileage with renewable use requirements, was signed by President Bush on Wednesday.
"This bill takes a significant step because it will require fuel producers to use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuels in 2022," Bush says. "This is nearly a five-fold increase over current levels."
The legislation meets the 25 by 25 initiative of more than 25% of the nation's energy coming from renewable sources. Bill Richards and Read Smith, co-chairman of the 25x'25 Steering Committee, say signage of the bill reflects the desire by the American people to improve our national security by reducing our dependency on foreign oil; enhancing our environment and boosting our economy, particularly in rural areas.
Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner says that the Farm Bill will play a major role in meeting the 36 billion gallon challenge.
"The Farm Bill needs to have a strong energy component in order to make that happen," Conner says. "We talk about where we are, but the challenges we have in the future are substantial."
One of those challenges is that the bill mandates that 21 of the 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels have to come from cellulosic ethanol, which scientists have yet to figure out how to produce profitably.