Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) joined Democratic Leader Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) in offering the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) as an amendment to the Internet tax bill currently before the Senate. The RFS would increase our use of renewable biofuels, such as ethanol, to five billion gallons by 2012.
"The RFS is critical to the growth of the rural economy and the security of our nation's energy supply," said Harkin. "It would provide a much-needed boost to rural areas by creating new jobs and adding value to products farmers produce while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil. Instead of sending billions of dollars to unstable and often hostile regimes, we would divert that money back to farmers and Main Streets here at home."
In addition to increasing the use of biofuels, the RFS would provide a shot in the arm to our still struggling national economy. By 2012, the RFS would add $156 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), spur $5.3 billion new capital investments, and create 214,000 new jobs. In rural America, the RFS would mean an increase of $1.3 billion in annual farm income.
Currently, 75 ethanol plants across the nation have the capacity to produce more than three billion gallons of ethanol annually. In Iowa alone, 12 ethanol facilities are producing more than one-fifth of U.S. ethanol.
"This legislation is simply too important to sit on the shelf," said Harkin. "The Senate has passed this measure before and we must do it again. The capability to meet the standards laid out by the RFS already exists. Americans are ready and eager to take real steps toward a cleaner, renewable and more secure energy future."