President Obama Issues Historic Biofuels Directive to Key Cabinet Members

May 6, 2009

President Responds to Governors’ Biofuels Coalition Recommendations

WASHINGTON, May 6 /PRNewswire/ — In response to recommendations from the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, President Barack Obama issued a presidential directive charging key members of his administration with shepherding the development of the U.S. biofuels industry. The directive creates the nation’s first comprehensive biofuels market development program; coordinates infrastructure policies; and identifies policy options to improve the sustainability of biofuels feedstock production.

The President’s action is a response to a letter from the Governors John Hoeven of North Dakota and Chet Culver of Iowa – chair and vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition – proposing a number of initiatives to accelerate the United States’ development and use of renewable, sustainable, low-carbon fuels produced domestically. The 35 governors of the Coalition believe the President’s directive is the right policy for the nation’s energy, environmental and national security future.

“With this directive, a national strategic vision for the role of biofuels in America’s future has been established,” said Governor Hoeven, chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

“President Obama’s action recognizes the economic opportunity that biofuels offer in terms of job, economic strength and energy security today — and for decades to come,” said Governor Culver, vice chair of the Coalition. “As governors, we see first-hand the positive impact and the tremendous potential of biofuels for our states and our nation. This historic action by President Obama has strengthened our commitment to the essential role that biofuels will play in the nation’s energy future.”

The May 5, 2009, presidential directive was distributed to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. The directive creates a Biofuels Interagency Working Group led by these three senior administration officials. The President tasked the Working Group with four key initiatives:

  • Developing the nation’s first comprehensive biofuels market development program, which should include policies to increase flexible fuel vehicle production and assist in retail marketing efforts;
  • Coordinating infrastructure policies impacting the supply, secure transport, and distribution of biofuels;
  • Identifying new policy options to improve the environmental sustainability of biofuels feedstock production, taking into consideration land use, habitat conservation, crop management practices, water efficiency and water quality, and lifecycle assessments of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to creating the Biofuels Interagency Working Group, the President directed the Secretary of Agriculture to pursue other biofuels development efforts in coordination with state and local governments. He requested that Secretary Vilsack begin refinancing existing investments in renewable fuels as needed to preserve jobs in ethanol and biodiesel plants, renewable electricity generation plants, and supporting industries. He also tasked the Secretary of Agriculture with presenting a plan within 30 days to make available the renewable energy financing opportunities made possible in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.

The President’s directive stresses the “thousands of new jobs” and “hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues for local, state and federal governments” that local production of clean renewable fuels provides. The President said that biofuels create homegrown sustainable energy options that stimulate the economy.

The Coalition’s Letter to President Obama can be viewed at: www.governorsbiofuelscoalition.org/assets/files/GBC_ObamaLetter1.pdf

For fifteen years, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition has provided national leadership on biofuels issues. The Coalition’s policy activities address all biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, advanced biofuels, co-products, and technologies yet to come. For more information, visit www.GovernorsBiofuelsCoalition.org.

    Larry Pearce 402-651-2948
    David Terry 703-395-1076
    Lance Gaebe (Hoeven) 701-328-2200
    Phil Roeder (Culver) 515-281-4294

SOURCE Governors’ Biofuels Coalition

Source: newswire

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