Senator Grassley says he wants to allay any doubts that ethanol production can use grass, silage and other waste plant material to expand ethanol production. There was some question at the meeting, he says, about the future of that cellulosic ethanol, but "as far as I’m concerned, it’s just around the corner."
Grassley points to the expansion announced this week by the Broin plant in northwestern Iowa as proof that ethanol production can keep growing without using up too much corn that’s also needed for livestock and human food production. He points to John Deere, which has a combine that can harvest not only corn kernels but the corncobs separately for ethanol production, as a sign that "the private sector’s way ahead of the government."
Grassley says he was among about fifteen lawmakers who met Friday with the president to talk about the future of ethanol, as President Bush prepares to leave on a visit next week to Brazil, Mexico and other Latin American nations to talk about alternative energy. Grassley also said that he’s faxed as well as hand-delivered a request to the White House asking for a federal disaster designation for Iowa in the wake of severe winter storms this week.