Now that Congress has passed that massive tax cut bill, the Energy Bill will be coming up soon which is expected to contain significant benefits for Iowa farmers. American Farm Bureau energy specialist Troy Braidenkamp says an amendment to the Renewable Fuel Standard has broad bi-partisan support, part of why it was the first amendment offered on the Energy Bill.Braidenkamp says the Energy Bill has been on the back burner, waiting for completion of the 350-billion dollar tax cut bill, which gained final approval Wednesday night, shepherded by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. The Energy Bill should be next on the agenda when members of Congress return from the Memorial Day recess next month. He thinks the entire comprehensive bill won’t likely be passed for “some time” yet as the full measure likely won’t get off the Senate floor until the middle or end of June. Braidenkamp offers some detail on the Renewable Fuel Standard amendment which he says is of such importance to farmers, especially in corn-rich Iowa. It calls for a ramp-up of petroleum refiners’ use of ethanol and biodiesel starting in 2005 at two-point-six billion gallons per year and further ramping up the usage to five-billion gallons by 2012. Braidenkamp says farmers have another reason to keep an eye on the provision.It contains a federal four-year phase-out of M-T-B-E, the main oxygenate used in many regions of the nation. The bill also contains ethanol liability protection and eliminates the two-percent oxygenate standard mandate on fuels.
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