President Bush wanted an energy bill on his desk by the beginning of August. It took five years in the making, but on Monday a comprehensive energy bill was finally signed into law.
The president signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Leaders from the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Soybean Association (ASA) and other farm groups were on hand to celebrate the long-awaited signing.
Both NCGA and ASA attributed the success to grassroots efforts through the states to the national level. ASA President Bob Metz, a soybean producer from West Browns Valley, S.D., says, "As I watched President Bush sign the bill, I was keenly aware that today is the culmination of more than a decade of farmer-directed, grassroots policy work that will increase demand for homegrown renewal energy sources like soybeans."
NCGA President Leon Corzine reflected on a visit he had with President Bush during his 2004 campaign stop in Iowa at the Farm Progress Show. "I remember when I talked with the president, he said, 'We are going to get you that energy bill.' A little less than a year later, the president has certainly followed through with that promise," he says.
The energy bill contains a 7.5-billion-gallon RFS calling for 4 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into the nation's fuel supply in 2006, increasing to 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.
In President Bush's comments, he says, "The bill includes tax incentives to encourage new construction of natural gas pipelines. It clarifies federal authority to site new receiving terminals for liquified natural gas, so that consumers across this nation can benefit from more affordable, clean-burning natural gas."
A statement from the American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman states the provision encouraging use of alternatives to natural gas will reduce natural gas demand. "Natural gas is important for production of nitrogen fertilizer, agricultural chemicals and electricity, all of which are vital to farmers and ranchers," Stallman says.