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Letter -- Turning back the clock on renewable fuels is unwise

To the editor: Recently, some policymakers have suggested we should reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard for ethanol. I strongly disagree, and as a former chairman of the Governors Ethanol Coalition, a 36 member association of ethanol producing st...

To the editor:

Recently, some policymakers have suggested we should reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard for ethanol. I strongly disagree, and as a former chairman of the Governors Ethanol Coalition, a 36 member association of ethanol producing states, I have contacted congressional leadership, the EPA and the president to encourage their continued support for ethanol.

Currently, the United States imports nearly 60 percent of its fuel. This creates a challenge not only of cost, but also of dependency on unstable foreign sources of petroleum. The long-term solution to high fuel prices at the pump and reduced dependency on foreign supplies is not to reduce consumption of biofuels, but to increase supply from all sources, including ethanol.

In North Dakota, we are increasing petroleum production, and we are working on four different projects to increase refinery capacity. We are aggressively increasing the domestic supply of oil and gas for our region and the nation. However, at a time when higher fuel prices at the pump are creating a hardship for consumers and a burden for America's economy, we must increase production of alternative fuels, as well.

Biofuels boost America's rural economies and help to contribute to the nation's supply of transportation fuels. They create jobs and stimulate economic activity in rural America, while reducing our dependency on oil produced in unstable parts of the world. Greater domestic energy production from any source means greater energy security for our country.

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Research is under way, moreover, to help the industry produce fuel from increasingly less expensive materials, so that some day we will be manufacturing ethanol from switch grass and other more economical sources.

The reality is, the run up in food prices owes more to rising fuel costs, as well as commodity market speculation and worldwide increased demand for meat, than to corn-based ethanol.

Turning back the clock on renewable fuels makes no sense. We must continue to enhance production, support research, and promote the use of ethanol and other biofuels. Our nation's economy and security depend on it.

Gov. John Hoeven

Bismarck

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