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SD, IA Governors Talk Biofuels At Coalition Meeting

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Making ethanol and 'going green' happens at POET everyday, but it's not everyday that governors from several different states get to visit the company and talk about renewable energy together.

Not only did Governor Dennis Daugaard and Iowa Governor Terry Branstadt get to talk about their ideas, they got to hear from others. They heard from leaders in the industry about how to strengthen the use of renewable energy in the United States. They did so at their annual meeting for the Governors' Biofuels Coalition at POET in Sioux Falls on Wednesday.

The Governors' Biofuels Coalition began in 1991 as the Governors' Ethanol Coaltion. The name changed due to it's scope, but what hasn't changed is their goal, which is increasing the use of biofuels and renewable energy in the United States.

Daugaard says, "We're hearing about a lot of different things; the renewable fuel standard, cellulosic ethanol production, air polution concerns, green house gas concerns."

Among those who led the discussion were Governors Daugaard and Branstad.

Daugaard says, "Both (of us) see ethanol as an important contributor to agriculture's success in our respective states."

Their focus was the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, which requires fuel to contain a minimum amount of renewable energy if sold in the United States.

Branstad says, "Unfortunately the oil industry doesn't like competition and they don't like the fact that now 10 percent of the fuel is renewable fuel and we hope to see that be a lot more."

Governor Branstad says he would like to change the standard to a standard that would require gasoline to contain 15 percent ethanol and someday even 30 percent. He says that would not only decrease our dependency on foreign oil, but the pollution that comes from fuel.

Branstad says, "It just makes me more fired up than ever about the future that we have here in the midwest and the great opportunities that have opened up because of ethonal, cellulosic ethanol, in additional to corn-based ethanol."

But to do that, the governors says momentum is key. We need to continue to educate the public and encourage ethanol fuel production across the United States.

Governor Terry Branstad was not only instrumental in getting the Renewable Fuels Standard passed but is one of the founders of the Governors' Biofuels Coalition. The coalition grew from nine to 19 states within the first year in 1991. The Governors' Biofuels Coalition now includes representatives from 36 states and eight countries.
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