More Positive News for Ethanol Production

Cleaner, lower-cost and renewable fuel continues to make advances in energy. J.T. Smith

Published on: Jul 1, 2005

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Environmental Protection Agency haven’t always agreed on every issue. But the AFBF is applauding EPA for standing behind scientific facts in denying three state requests to not use oxygenated fuels for reducing smog.

AFBF says the ruling is good for all Americans—including farmers and ranchers.

"These use of ethanol, an oxygenated fuel, is scientifically proven cleaner burning, that can help communities achieve the Clean Air Act standards by reducing ozone or smog pollution," says AFBF President Bob Stallman.

Stallman is a Columbus, Texas rice producer and cattle raiser.

The Clean Air Act requires regions of severe non-attainment for ozone pollution to use reformulated gasoline. But California, Connecticut and New York had requested waivers from EPA not to use reformulated gasoline or oxygenated fuels in their non-attainment areas. The three states claimed oxygenated fuels would add to ozone pollution, not reduce it. EPA denied the waivers because the states could not offer credible scientific evidence for their argument.

"Ethanol burns cleaner, is lower cost and contains a renewable fuels component. These are all good for the American consumer," Stallman says. "Additionally, ethanol reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil, while helping farmers earn income by growing crops used in ethanol production."

Meanwhile, in addition to ethanol progress in Texas, major strides for ethanol production are in motion in New Mexico. The Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol plant in Portales, New Mexico, is slated to have its ribbon cutting ceremony August 2. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), chairman, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, is expected to take part. He was key in securing an 8-billion gallon Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in the Senate’s energy bill. RFS is expected to expand ethanol production farther into the U.S. Sorghum Belt, stretching from South Texas to South Dakota, and from the Rockies to Mississippi. The Abengoa plant will use grain sorghum as its sole starch source. Grain sorghum is a competitively priced grain yielding the same ethanol as a bushel of corn.

Read much more about the advances in the Southwest for ethanol production in the current July issue of The Farmer-Stockman in the articles "Texans develop their own OPEC for ethanol" and "Ethanol plants will boost the production of grain sorghum"—with both stories on page 7.