Lawmakers Rev Up Ethanol Debate

1 decade 4 months 3 weeks ago May 10, 2006 May 10, 2006 Wednesday, May 10 2006 Wednesday, May 10, 2006 10:29:24 PM CDT in News

That's how much the state will need if lawmakers pass a 10% ethanol requirement for gasoline. Gov. Blunt discussed ethanol in this month's State of the State speech, and it's a hot topic this session for the General Assembly. And, ethanol legislation is music to farmers' ears.

"It's important to farmers because it supplies us with a steady, unending market for corn," said Terry Hilgedick of the Missouri Corn Growers Association.

And, supporters say, prices at the pump will drop.

"First and foremostly, we feel it will benefit the consumer because it will lower the cost of gas by a few cents a gallon."

But, critics say, handles won't be the only things getting squeezed at the pump if lawmakers pass the ethanol requirement.

"Consumers will be paying more for fuel, and consumers will be hurting unless there are safeguards and safety valves."

Critics worry prices for corn and gasoline will rise, so they want to be able to drop the 10%requirement in a crisis.

"If we don't need it, fine," said Ron Leone of the Missouri Petroleum Association. "But, if we do, then thank God we have it."

Farmers say they already grow plenty of corn to supply the 10% ethanol proposal.

But, the plan would require Missouri to triple how much ethanol it produces now.

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