Governor Testifies In Support Of Illinois Ethanol
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 1999
SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today told a House Policy Committee to push for the inclusion of ethanol in the next phase of the Federal Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) Program, a national clean air initiative of vital importance to Illinois agriculture.
"We are here today to reconfirm Illinois' wholehearted, enthusiastic support for including the use of ethanol in Phase II of the Federal EPA Reformulated Gasoline Program," Ryan said. "If ethanol is no longer used as an oxygenate, Illinois farm families will suffer."
The federal Clean Air Act requires certain types of "cleaner burning" motor fuels be sold in certain areas that fail to meet ozone safety standards. Illinois has two ozone non-attainment areas -- the Chicago metropolitan area and the Metro-East area.
Phase II of the of the RFG Program will begin January 1, 2000. Under provisions in the current RFG law, ethanol will no longer meet requirements for continued use during the summer months. Under Phase I, over 95 percent of the gasoline sold in the Chicago non-attainment area contained 10 percent blends of ethanol.
Currently, Chicago is the nation's top RFG market and the foundation of the domestic ethanol industry. If ethanol cannot be used year-round under Phase II of the RFG Program, Illinois could lose up to 400 million gallons of ethanol demand annually.
U.S. Representatives Jerry Weller, Judy Biggert and John Shimkus hosted the Policy Committee hearing. In addition to Illinois farmers, other witnesses testifying before the Committee include Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Joe Hampton, Illlinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Tom Skinner and representatives from the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association.
"I want to commend Representatives Jerry Weller, Judy Biggert and John Shimkus for being here today and providing a forum to discuss this important issue."
Text of the Governor's testimony is attached.
CONGRESSIONAL ETHANOL TESTAMONY
JULY 23, 1999
Thank you Rep. Weller for your generous introduction.
I want to begin by commending Representatives Jerry Weller, Judy Biggert & John Shimkus for being here today and for this opportunity to address a
critically important public policy issue.
We are here today to reconfirm Illinois' wholehearted, enthusiastic support for including the use of ethanol in Phase II of the Federal EPA Reformulated
I am doing everything in my power as Governor -- in cooperationwith our Congressional Delegation to persuade Carol Browner, the US EPA Administrator, that the use of ethanol should be encouraged and utilized as an important part of Phase II of the RFG program.
There are excellent, substantive reasons why Carol Browner should agree with us.
Ethanol improves air quality because it lowers toxic pollutants in vehicle exhausts. With ethanol included gasoline burns better and as a consequence there are fewer pollutants.
The use of ethanol-blended reformulated gasoline has been an effective weapon in the fight against smog in the Chicago, metropolitan area.
In 1990 in the Chicago metropolitan area motor vehicles put over 400 tons per day of volatile organic material into the air which are key pollutants in causing the buildup of smog.
Since 1995, the use of ethanol-blended reformulated gasoline in the Chicago metropolitan area has reduced those harmful emissions by more than 100 tons per day.
Ethanol use reduces carbon monoxide, which helps us meet federal air quality standards on a year around basis.
There is also a new study by the National Research Council which suggests the use of ethanol lowers carbon monoxide and in turn helps us meet federal ozone standards.
As we all appreciate, there are additional reasons why ethanol is so very important to Illinois.
Agriculture is the number one industry in Illinois, and as such we must effectively promote agriculture and the farm families who have made such extraordinary contributions to the growth and development of Illinois.
Ethanol is an essential component of agriculture in Illinois. 17% of our corn crop is used to make ethanol.
Every year, we produce more than 600 million gallons of ethanol, making
Illinois the nation's leading producer of ethanol.
If ethanol is no longer used as an oxygenate under the guidelines of the RFG Program Illinois would lose up to 400 million gallons of ethanol demand
Basically, the demand for ethanol would be cut in half.
We cannot allow that to happen.
Our position here in Illinois is straightforward.
Don't penalize our farm families -- particularly when the farm economy is
experiencing a temporary downturn - by eliminating ethanol from Phase II of the
Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program.
The Illinois RFG program has been a tremendous success.
Chicago is the top RFG market in the country, accounting for 400 million gallons of ethanol demand or one-third of the industry's production.
The American Lung Association of Illinois has praised our ethanol RFG system saying that oxygenates like ethanol help fuel burn more completely therefore reducing emissions of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds
and toxic air emissions.
The environmental and economic benefits of ethanol blended RFG program in Illinois are clear.
Without ethanol, blenders will be forced to use MTBE almost exclusively as the oxygenate in reformulated gasoline.
Most MTBE is IMPORTED and it is estimated that the price of gasoline would rise by 3-5 cents per gallon as a result of MTBE's exclusive use.
Seeking fair treatment and market access for ethanol isn't just about
income for farmers.
It is about ensuring that our farmers have markets for their products.
And, it's about protecting our environment for future generations.
Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today.
Now I'll call on Tom Skinner State of Illinois EPA Director, and Joe Hampton, our Director of the Department of Agriculture, who will discuss this subject from their special perspectives.