Corn growers, start your tractors. A bill being introduced in the U.S. Senate today (Thursday) would more than double the amount of ethanol the nation uses within a few years. About three-point-four billion gallons of the corn-based fuel additive were produced in the U.S. last year. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says the legislation would require gasoline makers to blend in eight-billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2012. Harkin says “When we draw our energy from the cornfields of Iowa rather than the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, we do three things: we increase America’s energy security, we boost our rural economy and we create a cleaner environment.” Harkin says with the price of a barrel of oil closing at an all-time high yesterday of 56-dollars 46-cents, the time is now to act. In what Harkin calls “a sad note,” the Senate voted narrowly yesterday to move toward allowing oil-drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Harkin says “It would be a lot smarter and would produce a lot more energy if we accelerated America’s transition to clean, renewable fuels.” Iowa already has 16 ethanol factories with several more being built or planned. Last year, they churned out nearly 950-million gallons. Harkin says ramping up and doubling production, both of corn and ethanol, is an attainable goal.
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