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News Release
Congressman Bob Etheridge
North Carolina

May 11, 2006

                                       Contact: Joanne Peters
                                       Phone: (202) 225-4531

Etheridge Announces Biofuels Legislation

Legislation Will Enhance Economy, Improve Energy Independence

WASHINGTON - As North Carolina families continue to struggle under skyrocketing gas prices, U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, the co-chair of the Rural Working Group, today introduced comprehensive legislation to promote biofuels production in America. The legislation will allow America to increase its energy independence by growing fuel on America's farms.

"Rural Americans are being hit particularly hard by high gas prices. However, our farmers and our economy stand to benefit in the future from this crisis if we make a commitment now to change the way we get our fuel. The answer to our fuel crisis is growing in our fields," said Etheridge.

"By investing in biofuels, we are not only make energy more affordable, we are also investing in rural America. Every dollar we invest in domestic biofuel production is a dollar that stays in America and creates good-paying jobs. It's a win-win solution for America."

The legislation will rapidly expand the production and distribution of biofuels, encourage the deployment of new engine technologies for flex-fuel, hybrid and biodiesel vehicles, and encourage cutting edge research to develop the next revolution in renewable energy.

In April, Etheridge held a Biofuels Summit in North Carolina, featuring local, state and national energy experts, biofuels producers and state government officials. Etheridge and the panelists examined the current state of biofuel development in North Carolina and explored how North Carolina, as the third largest agriculture producing state, can become a leader in biofuel production. Several of the panelists recommendations are included in the legislation.

The legislation will:

Increase production of American-made biofuels

  • Doubles the percentage of renewable fuels sold in America in six years.
  • Makes sure that biodiesel and cellulosic sources are a key part of that increase.
  • Extends tax credit for ethanol and biodiesel through 2015 and increases tax benefits to small ethanol producers.

Expand the Market for and Distribution of Biofuels

  • Increases the percentage of "flex-fuel" vehicles that run on ethanol, or gasoline, to 75 percent of all cars made in America in seven years.
  • Increases the number of gas stations offering ethanol (E-85) and biodiesel through new incentives and guidelines.

Research and Development to Improve Use of Renewable Energy

  • Invests in biofuels research to make biofuel production more efficient and environmentally sound.
  • Spurs cutting-edge research to develop new processes for turning other farm products into biofuels.
  • Fosters new vehicle efficient technologies through research and development.

Encourage Local Domestic Ownership

  • Provides federal incentives to smaller ethanol and biofuel plants, so that independent, locally-owned facilities that produce biofuels can grow and thrive, improving our rural communities.

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