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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 31, 1997


I am very disappointed that the tax incentives for renewable fuels were not extended in this budget agreement. By now, all Americans should be aware of the important role ethanol plays in cleaning our air and in providing economic development for rural America.

In the last two decades, ethanol has grown from a fledgling industry to make a real contribution to our environment, our national economy, and our efforts to wean ourselves from foreign sources of energy. As the nation moves toward cleaner reformulated gasoline in 2000, it will be crucial to have a number of options for making this fuel. Specifically, Americans will need a choice of oxygenated fuels to meet their clean air needs, including ethanol and its ether, ETBE, which has properties that make it particularly beneficial to the environment. Having a broad range of oxygenated fuels from which to choose will help increase competition in that market, lowering prices for consumers.

To continue the progress made so far, and to provide Americans with a choice of oxygenated fuels, it is critical that we extend these tax incentives beyond 2000. Only by extending these incentives until 2007 will farmers and renewable fuels producers have the certainty they need to invest in new ethanol plants and thus to further expand our domestic renewable fuels industry.

I have included a seven-year extension of the renewable fuels tax incentives in the NEXTEA legislation I sent to Congress earlier this year, and I urge Congress to enact this proposal as part of the reauthorization of the transportation bill.