U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Environmental Protection Agency is sending an important signal when it comes to corn-based ethanol fuel. Nebraska is the nation’s number-two ethanol producer, behind only Iowa.
Vilsack says the E.P.A. is considering raising the maximum blend of ethanol in unleaded gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent.
“I think that the E.P.A. administrator has indicated that we’re going to have E15. I think when she talked about labeling and starting to work on that, that’s an indication we’re going to have it,” Vilsack says. “The question is what vehicles will it apply to and, then, how do we build the industry from there.”
If the U.S. reaches the goal of producing 36-billion gallons of biofuels annually within the U.S. by 2022, Vilsack says the U.S.D.A. estimates it would mean 95-billion dollars of new processing plants would be built in rural America over the next 12 years.
“It would also generate somewhere between 800,000 and 900,000 of those ‘blue collar jobs with a white collar wage’…which would be located in rural communities throughout the country,” Vilsack said, “and would provide an alternative and additional income source for America’s farmers and ranchers.”