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Dorgan Says Expect More Biofuels Legislation in 2006

According to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), anxiety over fuel prices may result in a bipartisan legislative push for even more biofuels (ethanol and biodesel) incentives next year. In recent comments, Dorgan spoke of a growing bipartisan support for advanced vehicle incentives, and said he believes that effort may also lead to fuel economy policy changes.

According to Dorgan, there is a much more receptive “climate” for biofuels in the Congress. He indicated that a push for renewable fuels may begin in the Senate early in 2006.

Sources are reporting that Congress may focus on several stand-alone bills instead of a comprehensive bill. The measures are likely to address renewable fuels, energy efficiency and possibly even Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, according to Dorgan.

Some sources say that much has changed in the energy debate since the hurricane disaster. In recent weeks, both Senate and House members have come together to introduce legislation supportive of advanced technology vehicles and alternative fuels.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) recently showed his support for legislation that would mandate that all vehicles sold in the United States be ethanol capable. A separate bill introduced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) pushes alternative fuel use in vehicles and funds the production and development of cellulosic ethanol plants.