Senate agrees to add production of ethanol gas
Saturday, March 9, 2002
WASHINGTON -- The Senate approved tougher pipeline safety provisions Friday and reached agreement on measures that would sharply increase the use of ethanol in gasoline, while phasing out an additive blamed for water pollution.
The pipeline safety measure, approved by a 94-0 vote, was inserted into a sweeping energy bill being debated by the Senate. Similar pipeline measures cleared the Senate in each of the past two years, but never made it through the House.
Separately, senators announced agreement on a measure that would triple the amount of ethanol produced for gasoline to 5 billion gallons and ban MTBE, the gas additive blamed for fouling waterways in many states.
The agreement would phase out MTBE over four years and require at least 5 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be used by refiners by 2012. It also would end the federal mandate that that gasoline contain a certain amount of oxygenate in areas with clean air problems.
The agreement had been worked out over several weeks in negotiations among farm interests, the oil industry, environmentalists and MTBE manufacturers. Most of the provisions are already in the bill, but the compromise assured they would not be stripped from the legislation.