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Published November 08, 2010, 10:38 PM

South Dakota a leader in the ethanol effort

BROOKINGS, S.D. — The recent announcement that E15 has been approved for use in vehicles 2007 and newer was a long overdue but welcome decision that will benefit South Dakota producers by beginning to expand markets for ethanol across the nation.

By: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin,

BROOKINGS, S.D. — The recent announcement that E15 has been approved for use in vehicles 2007 and newer was a long overdue but welcome decision that will benefit South Dakota producers by beginning to expand markets for ethanol across the nation.

South Dakota is leading the way in the production and use of renewable biofuels, and approval of E15 not only gives consumers greater choice at the pump, but keeps our nation on track to promote economic development and jobs in rural states such as South Dakota and cut dependence on foreign oil.

Beginning in 2009, I led the bipartisan effort in the House of Representatives to win approval of the E15 waiver.

I joined with Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois and gathered a coalition of House members to fight for the approval of higher blends of ethanol for cars and trucks.

Our coalition wrote to the EPA urging it to approve E15.

With the decision on E15 for 2007 and newer vehicles now in place, I’m optimistic E15 will be approved for 2001 to 2006 vehicles later this year.

Corn competition

While we work to maintain and increase access to markets for ethanol in the next few years, it’s important for Congress to enact new policies that will allow corn ethanol to compete more fairly with petroleum.

To achieve those goals, we need to rapidly ramp up the number of flex-fuel vehicles being produced, increase incentives for installing blender pumps and move toward dedicated ethanol pipelines.

As a member of the House of Representatives, I introduced and cosponsored legislation that would help to achieve each of these goals — the Consumer Vehicle Choice Act, the Consumer Fuels Choice Act and the E85 and Biodiesel Access Act.

The Consumer Vehicle Choice Act would require that 50 percent of cars and light-duty trucks in model years 2011 and 2012 be flex fuel vehicles, and that percentage rises to 90 percent in model year 2013 and later.

The Consumer Fuels Choice Act would provide grants to defray the cost of installing blender pumps at service stations around the nation.

The E85 and Biodiesel Access Act would streamline the process and provides greater tax credit incentives for service station owners to install equipment to dispense E85, biodiesel and mid-level blends.

I introduced the Advanced Biofuel Investment Act, which would create a 30 percent Investment Tax Credit for advanced biorefineries that is monetizable through a grant program and would cover modular technologies that can be bolted onto existing ethanol plants.

Working together, we are building on South Dakota’s leadership in the biofuels industry, giving greater choice to consumers, creating jobs and reducing our nation’s foreign oil dependency. It’s a win all around.

Editor’s Note: Herseth Sandlin was defeated in her re-election bid to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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