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Presidential Contenders Weigh Biofuels

posted on November 9, 2007

Despite saber-rattling in the Oval Office, Congress delivered its first override of a veto by President Bush this week, authorizing $23 billion in water projects from the upper Mississippi River to the Florida Everglades.

The action could further stress already-tense relations between the White House and Congress and sets the stage for a looming showdown over the federal budget.

If you grow weary of presidential politics there may be light at the end of the tunnel. While we're not exactly on the home stretch, there is now, just one year to go before the 2008 election.

And with less than 60 days until the Iowa Caucuses, some of those seeking the presidency appeared in the nation's top corn-producing state this week to share their vision of agriculture's role in U.S. energy policy.


Presidential Contenders Weigh Biofuels

The combination of sky-rocketing crude oil prices and an increased focus on biofuels in the national consciousness are spilling over to the 2008 Presidential race. In Ames, Iowa this week, a group of candidates from both political parties addressed the nation's burgeoning biofuels industry.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona: "I trust Americans, I trust the markets, and I oppose subsidies."

Arizona Senator John McCain, the lone Republican at the BioEconomy Conference, reiterated his opposition to government ethanol subsidies. McCain's views have been controversial in Iowa – America's largest corn producing state and home to the first-in-the-nation Presidential caucus.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona: "Yes it means no ethanol subsidies but also no oil subsidies…I've never met a producer that wouldn't rather compete for a market instead of take a subsidy."

The three Democratic candidates present for the Iowa State University forum preached the need for ethanol as an essential source of America's energy independence.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut: "I'd like to see where rural America is the center of our energy economy instead of importing oil from the most dangerous parts of the world."

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware: "Our field of dreams is here in Iowa. If we build the infrastructure they will come."

The Democratic candidates warned an assortment of farm groups and potential voters that the bioeconomy has numerous challenges ahead.

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware: "There are 140,000 gas stations in America and only 1,000 have E85 pumps."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio: "My first act in office will be to cancel NAFTA and other trade deals. NAFTA was about a race to the bottom. This is an ongoing struggle."

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut: "When my wife tells me she got 45-50 miles per gallon in her car 25 years ago… you can't tell me that the auto industry hasn't slowed this process."

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware: "I know you Iowans are proud of your economy but don't think your farmers will give you a cheap break on this ethanol deal. They want their share of profits too."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio: "We must focus on markets close to home…to build the local food industry."


Tags: biofuels campaign 2008 caucuses Chris Dodd elections Iowa Joe Biden John McCain news presidential candidates renewable fuels