By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Nov. 12 – With Congress resuming business in a lame duck session which starts Monday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) is leading a bipartisan group of senators urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to include provisions aimed at expanding biofuels markets in energy legislation pending in the Senate. Additionally, the senators asked that Leader Reid consider legislation to extend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) beyond its Dec. 31 expiration date.

In their letter, the senators point out that these steps are crucial to reducing the nation’s dependence of foreign petroleum, creating jobs in the U.S. and addressing the issue of climate change. It is estimated that the enactment of these policies will enable as much as a five-fold increase in biofuels’ displacement of oil-based fuel use in transportation within the next two decades. Joining Harkin in signing the letter are Sens. Kit Bond (R-MO), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The senators wrote Reid that “One of our most pressing energy issues is our continued dependence on imported petroleum for fueling our transportation systems. On this issue, we are encouraged by the progress that is being made by vehicle efficiency gains and by the increasing contributions from domestic biofuels. However, we are also deeply concerned that continued expansion of biofuels is being constrained by marketplace limitations. We therefore urge you to include biofuels market expansion provisions addressing these barriers in energy legislation considered by the Senate.”

As the former chair and now senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Harkin has been a long-time leader in promoting the production and use of biofuels as an important part of the nation’s energy strategy. Recent Harkin initiatives and actions aimed at promoting biofuels include:

To read the letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid from Sens. Harkin, Bond, Johnson and Klobuchar, go to:

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