The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has praised the bi-partisan agreement reached to reconsider the comprehensive energy bill later this month.

The agreement, reached by Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), will include the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), legislation that will grow usage of renewable fuels such as ethanol to five billion gallons per year by 2012. Also, the MTBE liability provision will be stripped from the bill and the legislation’s cost will be cut from $31 billion to $14 billion.

“We commend Majority Leader Frist and Minority Leader Daschle for their bi-partisan commitment to this important legislation,” Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President, said. “The Renewable Fuels Standard allows our country to take a crucial step toward energy independence and entrusts ethanol with a significant role in America’s new energy policy.”

The RFS will more than double the use of ethanol across the country in the next decade. In 2003, the nation’s 74 ethanol plants produced a record 2.81 billion gallons of the fuel, up from 2.12 billion gallons the previous year.

“The Renewable Fuels Standard is critically important to long-term growth in the U.S. ethanol industry, growth which is now being driven by farmer-owned cooperative ethanol plants,” Jennings added. “This legislation will create jobs, increase farm income, and reduce our dependence upon foreign oil.”

MTBE, methyl tertiary butyl ether, is a gasoline additive that has been banned by 17 states over serious water pollution concerns. The energy bill stalled in the Senate last November, mainly over the provision that would shield the makers of MTBE from product defect lawsuits.

Senators Daschle and Frist hope that the energy bill can be voted upon shortly after Congress returns from President’s Day recess on February 23.

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is a nationwide non-profit organization that promotes increased ethanol production and use. ACE represents over 500 individuals and organizations in 41 states, including rural electric cooperatives, public power districts, commodity organizations, ethanol producers, businesses, and individuals who believe in the importance of and the future of the ethanol industry. For more information about the organization or about ethanol, visit ACE on the Web at www.ethanol.org or call 605-334-3381.