In their passage of a farm bill on Thursday, the Senate Ag Committee also preserved $800 million for several biofuels programs that support the US Department of Agriculture's grants and loan guarantees to cellulosic refineries. Note this is just for cellulosic ethanol. It’s good to see that given the tight budget that this group of Senators still highly values biofuels, indicating that the Renewable Fuels Standard II is a success. But where’s the love for corn ethanol?
The committee met to consider a comprehensive farm bill, the initial version of which did away with funding for those biofuels programs. But an amendment introduced by Senators Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, and Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, restored $800 million for those programs, which were created by the 2008 farm bill.
We hope that we’ll see renewed support for corn-based ethanol, which is currently the only commercially viable source of ethanol in this country. Corn-based ethanol, we know, provides a solid foundation upon which other feedstocks can gain footing. But as support erodes for corn-ethanol, that foundation gets shaky.
We at IL Corn will continue to work on moving corn starch ethanol to be considered an advanced biofuel to help our nation meet the requirements of the RFS II. Right now, corn starch ethanol is legislatively excluded from this designation, an action that was originally made because extremist groups opposed corn.
That’s right. Too many people consider corn-ethanol to be dirty. How ridiculous is that?