Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wants the next farm bill to include grants and loans for ethanol blender pumps, as well as small wind projects. Renewable energy "is good for Minnesota. It's good for our region, which is a leader in this field, and it's good for the entire country because it will help wean us off foreign oil, it will create American jobs and that's what's so important," Franken said. A new farm bill may clear the Senate within the next month, he said.
The Maine House of Representatives voted 109-32 to endorse legislation that would prohibit the sale of ethanol-blended gasoline in the state if two other New England states enact a similar measure. The House also endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to stop mandating the use of E15. State Rep. Joan Welsh, chairwoman of the legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee, expressed reservations about the bill, saying ethanol is the only viable option to meet the U.S. renewable-fuel commitments.
Woerner Agribusiness and Perdido Vineyards will host an open house today at a pilot-scale sugar beet and sugarcane production project in Bon Secour, Ala. Aside from their high-yield potential and sugar content, the two crops can become an additional income stream for local farmers, said Woerner Agribusiness President George Woerner. Perdido Vineyards is working on a facility that could churn out as much as 330,000 gallons of ethanol by next spring, Woerner said.
Some carmakers are telling the public that E15 could harm engines and void the warranty on some vehicles. Ethanol supporters, however, point out that E15 has been proven to be safe to use in vehicles for which it was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. "E15 has been sold in this country for the past nine months with no issues whatsoever. This is a lot of hysteria that's being driven by the oil companies," said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.
Pacific Ethanol posted $225.5 million in sales for the first quarter, beating the $197.7 million for the same period a year earlier. "Higher ethanol prices and more favorable market conditions in the second half of the quarter drove significant increases in both revenue and gross profit in the first quarter as compared to the prior year's period," said President and CEO Neil Koehler.