Bigger synfuel push urged
BISMARCK -North Dakota officials should set a statewide goal for using more ethanol and biodiesel, Sen. Byron Dorgan said. By 2008, 10 percent of the state's gasoline usage should ethanol and 2 percent of diesel should be biodiesel, he said Wedne...
BISMARCK -North Dakota officials should set a statewide goal for using more ethanol and biodiesel, Sen. Byron Dorgan said.
By 2008, 10 percent of the state's gasoline usage should ethanol and 2 percent of diesel should be biodiesel, he said Wednesday.
Dorgan calls it a standard. North Dakota legislators call it a mandate and have rejected such legislation several times.
And Gov. John Hoeven believes the state will hit Dorgan's proposed goal with the programs he initiated two years ago.
"It's an admirable goal, but we believe we're going to exceed 10 percent by 2008 without a mandate," said Hoeven spokesman Don Canton.
The state announced the building of two 50-million-gallon ethanol plants this past spring and farm processing giant Archer Daniels Midland recently announced plans for the largest biodiesel plant in North America at Velva.
Dorgan said he wrote a national minimum usage standard of 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels - ethanol and biodiesel--into the national energy bill that passed Congress in July, with that goal to be hit by 2012. He said it represents a doubling of the current level of national use.
As the industry gears up to meet that standard, he said, the benefits to farmers should extend into North Dakota and surrounding states that have more ethanol plants than North Dakota.
Noting that oil prices rose from $34.50 per barrel in January 2004 to the $65 range now, Dorgan said, "If ever there was urgency for us to boost the use of renewable fuels and production of renewable fuels, it's now."
Hoeven announced a four-part ethanol incentive program in 2002. It included a support payment system for ethanol plants, for times when the price of ethanol drops or the price of corn rises to levels that make ethanol less profitable.
The 2003 Legislature passed Hoeven's incentive program, budgeting $4.2 million for ethanol incentive payments. The 2005 Legislature extended the funding to $4.6 million for the 2005-07 biennium. Funding comes from farm vehicle registrations.
The governor's 2002 plan also included a $500,000 marketing campaign to increase the use of ethanol by motorists; incentive payments to gas station owners who install E85 pumps; and a commitment by state government to purchase ethanol fuels and to buy fleet vehicles that use E85.
Hoeven and other state officials are also driving a Chevrolet Avalanche that runs on E85.
E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
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