February 23, 2005

Crapo, Committee Approve Massive PlansFor Ethanol, Alternative Fuel Production

Senator: Plans for five billion gallons will create new market

Washington, DC - Ethanol and alternative fuel production got a huge shot in the arm today as Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and fellow members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved plans for the federal government to ensure the production of up to five billion gallons of ethanol and other alternative fuels. The vote came as the committee considered plans for new, non-polluting additives for gasoline. â??The call for new production of five billion gallons of ethanol will unleash an effort that will get money in the pockets of Idaho growers and businesses while cleaning up our air and water,â?? Crapo said. Crapo and the committee members approved a proposal creating government incentives for new production of more ethanol and other alternative fuels. Those fuels would be utilized as a replacement of a gasoline additive known as MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), which has been shown to contaminate groundwater throughout the United States. The new legislation offers $750 million in grants to those seeking to produce ethanol, with the ultimate goal of creating a market guarantee of 5 billion gallons for renewable fuels. The committee vote also comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers $44 million in grant money for the production of alternative energy, with half of that grant money available directly to farmers and ranchers. Crapo, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, noted the tight time frame for applying for the grants. Small businesses, farmers and ranchers seeking the grants through the USDAâ??s Rural Business Cooperative Service must apply by June 6 of this year.â??These actions, with the Energy Bill still to be debated before the U.S. Senate, are a good sign that ethanol production is finally getting the attention it deserves,â?? Crapo added. â??We are winning the war in Iraq, and we will soon be winning the war to get us away from dependence on foreign oil sources from the Middle East and give our agricultural sector a needed economic boost.â??Crapoâ??s comments on the ethanol proposals are available via satellite today:2:30-2:35 p.m. Mountain Time/1:30-1:35 p.m. Pacific, Galaxy 3 (C-Band), Transponder 24 Vertical, Downlink 4180, Standard Audio # # #