"Move to phase two:" Governors in Philadelphia talk of moving beyond corn-based ethanol
Associated Press Writer, The Associated Press, PHILADELPHIA, July 13, 2008
Governors from the coal fields of West Virginia to the corn fields of Iowa talked Sunday at their summer meeting about moving beyond ethanol produced just from food sources.
And they're also not talking about replacement so much as supplementing: using switchgrass or wood waste products, for example, along with corn.
This year's corn crop, expected to be a record, is worth about $52 billion.
That in turn has led some to blame the push for ethanol on high food prices. Disagreeing sharply, the ethanol industry and corn growers point the finger at record fuel prices driving up the cost of growing and shipping food.
"But we recognize that this has to now move to phase two," he said.
Pawlenty, a Republican, launched "Securing a Clean Energy Future" when he took the reins of the National Governors Association last year as the group's chairman, a one-year post.
Perry and other opponents of the requirement say the push to turn more corn into ethanol is raising food prices and the cost of feed for livestock.
Several Republican lawmakers -- but no other governors -- have signed onto Perry's request.
"I truly do not believe that a food-based product should be used for energy," said Gov. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, where almost all energy needs are met by coal. "It should be used for human consumption."
The current buzz is cellulosic ethanol, or ethanol made from plant matter. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm pitched the idea Sunday of using more wood products because of the large number of forests in her state.
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said he welcomed the debate as a way to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. But he said that "you can't get to cellulosic ethanol until you do ethanol first."
"We should be thanking these Iowa farmers, these ethanol producers, these innovators, that are -- as we speak today -- out in Iowa trying to solve that energy security challenge," Culver said.
Pawlenty says biofuels will be a big part of the nation's energy future but the type of biofuels will evolve and change Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah echoed that notion when he dismissed the idea of an energy argument along the lines of to drill or not to drill for oil.
"The question before policy makers really is what are the choices we have to get us from today's very hydrocarbon dependent world to one, 20, 30, 40 years from now, that will be much less hydrocarbon dependent," he said.
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