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Senate Proceeding on Jun 23rd, 2010 :: 1:04:15 to 1:19:40
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Tom Harkin

1:04:11 to 1:04:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: quorum call: a senator: mr. psident? the presiding officer: the mr. harkin: mr. president, i ask proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: i come to the floor to speak about the government's unnecessary delay

Tom Harkin

1:04:15 to 1:19:40( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

1:04:32 to 1:04:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in deciding the use of sale of e-15 gasoline at all the gasoline stations in this country. last friday we were told by the environmental protection agency and the department of energy that they will not make a decision on e-15, a gasoline blend that includes 15% ethanol,

Tom Harkin

1:04:54 to 1:05:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: until sometime this fall. quite frankly, this is an abdication of responsibility, and it couldn't come at a worse time. now again, a little history for those that don't understand this, we have for over 30 years now had approval of a blend of 10% ethanol with gasoline.

Tom Harkin

1:05:17 to 1:05:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in the old days, it was called sohol. now it's called e-10. and when you pull into your gasoline station, you'll see it there. e-10 pumps all over. there used to be big signs, now it's hardly even noted any longer because it's so widely used. i'll get into that more later. but there has been testing done

Tom Harkin

1:05:41 to 1:06:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: over the last, i would say 15 years or more as to how much you could actually use of ethanol in a gasoline blend without hurting any of the engines or cars or vehicles that we use in america. a lot of testing has gone on,

Tom Harkin

1:06:02 to 1:06:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and the results of that test show there's absolutely no problem anywhere if you increase it from 10% to 15%. as a matter of fact, a lot of tests done privately show that as much as 20% to 25% could be added without any damage whatsoever.

Tom Harkin

1:06:24 to 1:06:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: well, this has been at the e.p.a. and the department of energy for a long time. increasing the blend rate -- that's what we call it, the blend rate -- from 10% to 15% is critical to reducing our addiction to oil and accelerating the transition to biofuels we all understand how important this is. it will strengthen our national

Tom Harkin

1:06:46 to 1:07:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: security, create jobs, boost our economy, and help the environment. but, wait, what makes the dithering at e.p.a. and energy all the more baffling and outrageous is that it's happening in the midst of the appalling catastrophe in the gulf of mexico. the blowout at the b.p.

Tom Harkin

1:07:07 to 1:07:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: deepwater horizon well cast a spotlight on the terrible price we pay for our dependence on petroleum. but instead of spurring e.p.a. and energy to action, they've hit the snooze button and given themselves another five or six months to try to reach a decision. we can't wait until the fall. in the face of the b.p.

Tom Harkin

1:07:29 to 1:07:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: disaster, we need a decision on e-15 with the utmost urgency. we have decried our dependence on oil for decades, going back to the mid-1970's, we have talked and we have talked and we have talked about the national security risks associated with our ever-increasing oil dependence is i. we've decried the fact that we're dependent on oils from

Tom Harkin

1:07:51 to 1:08:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: nations that are unstable or unfriendly or both to the united states. we've been embroiled in conflict after conflict, war after war in the middle east because of oeufplt as we have talked -- because of oil. as we have talked, total oil usage and imports have risen steadily. in recent years there have been glimmers of hope. in 2007 we passed the energy

Tom Harkin

1:08:13 to 1:08:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: independence and security act, which mandated an increase in the efficiency of our automobiles and light trucks as well as increasing levels of biofuels in our transportation sector. these two steps -- increasing vehicle efficiencies and

Tom Harkin

1:08:34 to 1:08:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: encouraging the use of domestic fuels -- are the two fastest and most effective ways to reduce demand for petroleum-based fuels in transportation. particularly, i want to highlight what we've accomplished with biofuels. in just the past decade, we have increased the contribution of biofuels for highway transportation from about 2% in

Tom Harkin

1:08:59 to 1:09:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the year 2000 to almost 10% today. i want to repeat that because i don't think most americans grasp the significance of what our biofuels industry has accomplished in just one decade. current ethanol production exceeds 9%, is quickly

Tom Harkin

1:09:20 to 1:09:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: approaching 10% of total gasoline demand in the united states. to put that in perspective, ethanol now contributes more t our transportation fuel demand than all of our oil imports from mexico, venezuela or nigeria. repeat that: ethanol contributes

Tom Harkin

1:09:42 to 1:10:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: more to our transportation fuel than all of our oil imports from mexico, venezuela or nigeria. only imports from canada and saudi arabia provide more fuel for transport than our domestic ethanol industry. so this is tremendously heartening news. congress recognized the potential biofuels in the 2007

Tom Harkin

1:10:03 to 1:10:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: energy bill. we called for increasing levels of biofuels that roughly match what the industry has accomplished to date. in that bill, we called for that contribution to rise steadily over the next 12 years, reaching 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Tom Harkin

1:10:25 to 1:10:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that would put us on a trajectory to get about 25% of our transportation fuels from domestic biofuels by 2025. we need to stay on that trajectory because biofuels offer one of our very best alternatives for reducing dependence on petroleum.

Tom Harkin

1:10:46 to 1:11:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: however, mr. president, while our biofuels industry has stepped up to the plate, our fuel markets are lagging behind. day nearly all ethanol is used in the form, as i said, in the form of e-10, a blend of 10% ethanol with gasoline, used in almost all of our cars and light trucks.

Tom Harkin

1:11:07 to 1:11:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: since ethanol production is very close to 10% of total gasoline demand, we are at what is commonly called the blend wall. in other words, our ethanol production is close to that 10%, so we have this blend wall of 10%. so we have to do three things. first and second, we must

Tom Harkin

1:11:28 to 1:11:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: transition to a fleet of cars and light trucks capable of using higher blends. and we must make higher blends available to the installation of pwhrerpbd pumps -- blender pumps. senator lugar and i introduced a bill to accomplish both of these actions last fall. our consumer fuels and vehicles

Tom Harkin

1:11:49 to 1:12:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: choice act of 2009, which is senate bill 1627, would mandate manufacture of increasing numbers of flex-fuel vehicles as well as installation of increasing numbers of blender pumps. again, mr. president, this is not some pie-in-the-sky thing. i would point out that in the

Tom Harkin

1:12:10 to 1:12:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: nation of brazil, every single car produced in brazil -- by ford, i might add or by general motors i could also add or by the japanese manufacturers that are manufacturing cars in brazil -- every single car is 100% flex fuel. and the cost of doing that is, well, if you did it to every

Tom Harkin

1:12:31 to 1:12:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: car, it would be almost minuscule. so we need every car produced in america to be totally flex fuel just like they are in brazil. that's what our bill would mandate. and then we need to increase the number of blender pumps, pumps that are out there. now, this is the old chicken and egg argument that i've heard for so many years.

Tom Harkin

1:12:53 to 1:13:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: you go to the oil companies -- which we've done. senator lugar and i both have done this. we talked to the oil companies why don't you put in more blender pump stph-ps they say we'd put in more blender pumps but there's not that many flex fuel cars out there.

Tom Harkin

1:13:14 to 1:13:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: back and forth we go. so our bill would do both of those things. now, i also notice that this is also part of an energy bill that senator lugar introduced just a few weeks ago here in the senate, a comprehensive energy bill. but the third action, mr. president, that we need is

Tom Harkin

1:13:37 to 1:13:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: approval of e-15 right now -- right now -- for use in all gasoline fuel vehicles. the e.p.a. has responsibility for making this decision. a trade association called growth energy applied to the e.p.a. for approval of e-15 in march of 2009, more than a year ago.

Tom Harkin

1:13:59 to 1:14:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: under the clean air act, as amended in the 2007nergy bill, the e.p.a. is required to take final action to grant or deny such a request within 270 days. but at the end of 270 days, in november of 2009, e.p.a. simply

Tom Harkin

1:14:20 to 1:14:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: reported that they were going to wait for the results of more department of energy testing of vehicles running on e-15 before making the mandated decision. however, in last november they also indicated they expected to approve e-15 for all vehicles of

Tom Harkin

1:14:45 to 1:15:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: model year 2001 or newer by mid-2010, provided that the test results continued to be supportive. but now we're being told that their decision will be further delayed. fuher delayed. first of all, the bill is clear. they were mandated to make this decision within 270 days.

Tom Harkin

1:15:07 to 1:15:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that was last november. well, they said we need a little bit more time. the tests all were supportive. the tests all looked very good. and they spebgtd, they told they expected to approve e-15 for all model cars 2001 and later by

Tom Harkin

1:15:29 to 1:15:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: tphourbgs of june -- by june of 2010. now what happened? they kicked the ball down the field. maybe sometime this fall. again, what we -- what we're told -- what we're told -- i don't know that this is factual, but what we're told is that this

Tom Harkin

1:15:51 to 1:16:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: is a consequence of testing delays and additional test requirements at the department of energy. so i have to ask the question, if this is so, why is the department of energy dragging their feet? why are they dragging their feet?

Tom Harkin

1:16:13 to 1:16:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: what is secretary che chu doing about this? what i think -- i think secretary chu needs to answer to feet on this. is it because there is a bias at department of energy against biofuels? well, i -- there's some indication there just might be that kind of a bias.

Tom Harkin

1:16:35 to 1:16:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: well, i'd like to know the answer to that queion and i hope if anybody's watching this, the department of energy, that they'll tell theiross that senator harkin intends to ask the secretary in a more formal setting why they're dragging their feet on this in the midst of an oil crisis the likes of which we've never seen.

Tom Harkin

1:16:57 to 1:17:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so, mr. president, if i upset, i am. there's absolutely no reason for this foot dragging. none whatsoever. now, this may be the -- the slow walking may be business as usual for bureaucracy in ordinary times, but these are not ordinary times. and bureaucratic business as usual is not acceptable.

Tom Harkin

1:17:19 to 1:17:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we're in the midst of what many consider the worst environmental disaster in american history. perhaps even world history. and the root cause of this is our addition to oil. we have not just an environmenl and natiol security imperative to end that addiction, now we have a profound moral imperative as well.

Tom Harkin

1:17:41 to 1:18:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we cannot tolerate any further delay in accelerating our transition to clean, domestically produced domestically produced -- domestically produced biofuels

Tom Harkin

1:18:02 to 1:18:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: wherever sugar canes or switchgrass or any other feed stocks for ethanol are grown and renewed every single yr. so, mr. president, i've come to the floor today not just to urge, but to demand that the e.p.a. and the department of energy give this decision the highest and most urgent priority. we can't wait till this fall.

Tom Harkin

1:18:23 to 1:18:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it's time for the department of energy to get off -- get off that stop button and move ahead aggressively. they had their 270 days last year. we've already gone over that. lawsuit is clear. -- the law is clear. the law is clear. and it's unacceptable they're dragging their feet on this. both the e.p.a. and the

Tom Harkin

1:18:47 to 1:19:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: department of energy owe us, the congress, a better accounting for the current delay than the excuses we've been given. most importantly, it's time for them to end the delay and the dithering around. we need a decision and we need it now. mr. president, before i yield the floor, i ask unanimous

Tom Harkin

1:19:09 to 1:19:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: consent that laura selik and marshall fisher of my staff be granted floor privileges for the duration of today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without mr. harkin: mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk

Tom Harkin

1:19:31 to 1:19:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senatorrom new mexico. a senator: i a

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