"Congress has the opportunity this year
to make great strides in our nation's energy policy," said Gov.
Blagojevich. "They can enact legislation that accomplishes the
crucial goals of creating jobs, providing for a cleaner environment
and weaning our dependency on foreign oil while promoting an
important renewable fuel made right here in America. These
initiatives will have a tremendously positive impact on Illinois,
where ethanol production is a vital part of our agricultural
The Renewable Fuel Standard would be a
national requirement that boosts total ethanol use to 5 billion
gallons annually by 2012, roughly twice the current utilization
amount. The U.S. EPA would set ethanol utilization goals for
individual refineries in order to reach the national standard by
2012. The Renewable Fuel Standard provides a logical road map for
reducing consumer fuel prices, increasing energy security,
stimulating rural economies and generating jobs. The ethanol and oil
industries, agricultural groups, consumer groups, and various states
all endorse this standard. The Renewable Fuel Standard not only
supports a renewable energy alternative to imported oil but also
contains provisions to eliminate within six months complex rules
that currently lead to production of many "boutique" fuel blends for
different markets. Elimination of the need for these boutique fuels
will increase the flexibility of refineries to serve multiple
markets and produce lower costs for consumers.
The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax
Credit mitigates a serious flaw in the existing alcohol fuels tax
credit. The existing motor fuel tax credit reduces federal highway
trust funds for states like Illinois that use significant amounts of
renewable fuels such as ethanol. Passage of the new tax credit would
stop penalizing ethanol and would bring almost $1.9 billion in
additional highway trust fund dollars to Illinois over a six-year
period, allowing the state to improve infrastructure and create
The letter, sent
by Govs. Blagojevich and Pawlenty on behalf of the 30 governors
represented by the Governors' Ethanol Coalition, urges President
Bush to "impress upon Congress the importance of passing energy
legislation, including the RFS and VEETC, this year."
Gov. Blagojevich tied his support for
this federal legislation to his innovative Opportunity Returns plan
here in Illinois. "Opportunity Returns is all about finding creative
ways to create jobs and build our economy," he said. "We are focused
on finding new opportunities for Illinois farmers and also in
preserving and enhancing the environment for future generations."
The Opportunity Returns regional
economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive
approach to creating jobs in Illinois' history. Instead of a
one-size-fits-all approach to economic development, which just
doesn't work, the governor has divided the state into 10 regions --
finding areas with common economic strengths and needs and
developing a plan with specific actions for each region. This
grass-roots effort is a product of significant outreach over several
months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected
officials. Opportunity Returns contains tangible actions to make
each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial
and more attractive to business. Each plan is tailored to deliver
real results that local businesses will see, feel and, hopefully,
has already unveiled plans for six of the 10 regions -- Northern
Stateline, Northwest, Southern, North Central, Southwest and West
Central. He will announce the plans for the East Central, Southeast,
Central and Northeast regions in the coming months.
[News release from the
[to top of second column]
(copy of letter)
April 9, 2004
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Bush:
The Governors' Ethanol Coalition, which represents 30
governors throughout the nation, would like to reiterate our
strong support and sense of urgency for passage of the
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) during the 108th Congress.
Creating an RFS provides a logical roadmap for reducing
consumer fuel prices, increasing energy security, stimulating
rural economies and generating jobs. Domestically produced
renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel can help meet a
percentage of our nationís fuel needs.
The RFS fuels agreement accomplishes a number of objectives
and is supported by the ethanol and oil industries,
agricultural groups, the environmental community, consumer
groups and states. First, it provides refiners with increased
flexibility which will reduce fuel costs in the marketplace.
Second, it provides both agriculture and the renewable fuels
industry with significant domestic growth opportunities.
Third, it will help add over 200,000 new jobs and will protect
the environment through a ban on MTBE and strong
antibacksliding language. A majority in Congress support the
RFS fuels agreement, and we urge you to do what you can to
ensure that this important legislation is enacted into law
also strongly support the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit
(VEETC), which mitigates a serious flaw in the existing
alcohol fuels tax credit. The existing motor fuel tax credit
reduces federal highway trust funds for states that use
renewable fuels like ethanol. This is obviously
counterproductive for a country that is trying to create new
jobs, improve its infrastructure and reduce its dependence on
imported oil. It is critical to the states that VEETC is
enacted into law this year.
the meantime, we must not undermine the existing Federal
Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) Program with its oxygenate
requirement. This program has improved air quality in every
ozone non-attainment area across the country. California and
other states have already addressed concerns about MTBE by
using ethanol, thereby protecting drinking water supplies
without lessening the air quality benefits of the federal RFG
program. Importantly, replacing MTBE with ethanol in these
states has been a seamless transition without negatively
impacting consumer gas prices.
The Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program requires both
performance standards for emissions and requires oxygenates.
This combination yields significantly greater air quality
benefits than either would alone. Historically, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the air quality
benefits of oxygenates and ethanol in gasoline, including
reduced emissions of fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide,
hazardous air pollutants, air toxics, and ozone precursors.
Simply waiving the use of oxygenates in RFG, without
sufficient air quality protections as provided in the RFS
fuels agreement, could result in serious environmental
backsliding. The passage of the Renewable Fuel Standard would
be a simple solution to this complex problem.
Please accept our thanks for your leadership on energy issues
and your support for ethanol and biofuels specifically. We
urge you to impress upon Congress the importance of passing
energy legislation, including the RFS and VEETC, this year.
Rod Blagojevich, Chairman
Governor of Illinois
Tim Pawlenty, Vice Chairman
Governor of Minnesota