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Bipartisan legislation doubles investment over five years

Washington, D.C. - Today U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) introduced a bill to extend funding for the Biodiesel Education program for an additional five years. The 2002 Farm Bill provided $1 million per year; this new bill would increase the funding to $2 million annually. The proposal is modeled after Minnesota's program - the first state to pass a 2 percent biodiesel standard. Crapo said, "In the face of rising gasoline prices and increasing calls for energy independence, people are looking for alternatives to conventional petroleum. When I visited the University of Idaho, one of the world's leaders in biodiesel research, to receive a briefing on the outstanding work that the staff there is doing, it was indisputable that this technology is something that our country needs. The value of the Biodiesel Education Grant Program is that is helps people understand--from seed to gas tank--the benefits of biodiesel, including production practices, standards and fuel quality, and basic economics, so that they can make educated decisions about their fuel purchases." "When it comes to renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, it's one thing for the government to give incentives to produce the fuel, but it's another thing altogether to make sure the public knows what the fuel is, what it's made from, and that it works in their car," said Klobuchar. "That's why I support these crucial education programs. Since its inception in 2002, this program has been vital in getting the word out to drivers about biodiesel and helping the industry grow." The Biodiesel Fuel Education Program was established as part of the energy title of the 2002 Farm Bill. The program provides educational funding to support increased fuel quality measures, increase acceptance of biodiesel by engine and equipment manufacturers, petroleum partners, users, and the general public. Crapo has long been recognized for his efforts to promote alternative energy, particularly support for biodiesel and ethanol programs. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he has advocated successfully to include biodiesel and ethanol use in the 2002 Farm Bill and continues that push as the 2007 Farm Bill is being crafted. He also serves as a member of the Senate Renewables and Energy Efficiency Caucus. Klobuchar introduced similar legislation this year for ethanol education under the Ethanol Education and Awareness Act. That bill was modeled on the Biodiesel Education Program. Both initiatives are part of what Klobuchar has called for as a "silver buckshot" approach to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. These education programs are important in educating consumers and businesses about renewable, environmentally friendly energy. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. The use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in a substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Research also documents the fact that the ozone forming potential of the hydrocarbon emissions of pure biodiesel is nearly 50% less than that of petroleum fuel. Pure biodiesel does not contain sulfur and therefore reduces sulfur dioxide exhaust from diesel engines to virtually zero. # # #