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Duckworth, Vilsack visit Central Illinois

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth met in central Illinois this week to discuss corn-based ethanol and its ability to contribute meaningful solutions to our national challenges. The visit comes soon after Senator Duckworth joined as an original co-sponsor to the introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill establishes a new high octane, low carbon fuel standard beginning in 2026, which automobile manufacturers can use to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A clean octane standard, the bill requires that sources of additional octane result in at least 40 percent fewer GHG emissions than unblended gasoline and sets new limits on toxic hydrocarbon aromatics. Corn ethanol is an effective, low carbon octane course, providing the greatest fuel efficiency gains at the least cost to drivers while reducing GHG and tailpipe emissions. This bill finally eliminates the unfair regulatory barriers to higher blends ethanol. The Next Generation Fuels Act allows near-term, cost-effective options, as opposed to USEPA’s current path of eliminating the internal combustion engine and mandating electric vehicles. While at a visit to One Earth Energy in Gibson City, IL, Senator Duckworth said, “We see the picture of what biofuels can do and this year I took two trips into Asia and they’re really interested in gaining access to carbon neutral grown commodities (corn and soybean) and that is going to be a real advantage we have as we move forward. So, there is nothing better than American grown fuel and there’s nothing better than American grown feed. We are the fuel of the future, not just here but all over the world.” The two later visited Casey’s General Store in LeRoy, IL to see one of the many E15 fueling stations in Illinois. Casey’s has committed to including E15 options at the pump for any new facility, giving consumers a more cost-effective, cleaner choice when they fill up. “We are so grateful for Senator Duckworth’s leadership, as the Senate members can now begin to consider the role that corn-based ethanol can play in helping our nation achieve its clean energy goals. We know that ethanol has a role to play, as the cleanest liquid fuel available to consumers now with the infrastructure to truly make a difference for our environment,” said Marty Marr, IL Corn Growers Association President and farmer from New Berlin, IL. ICGA remains grateful for the leadership of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos who wrote the Next Generation Fuels Act and first introduced it into the U.S. House of Representatives in August 2021. Leadership of the bill in both the House and the Senate by Rep. Bustos and Sen. Duckworth recognizes the 40-45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of corn-based ethanol compared to petroleum fuel. Secretary Vilsack understands the important role American farmers have to play, stating, “I’m here because of terrific people here today, you are the heart and soul of this country.”


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