Editor's Note

OK, Let's Get To Work
By Tom Bryan | August 01, 2005
I've been a journalist in the ethanol and biodiesel industries for almost five years, and if there's one thing that's been entirely constant during that time, it has been the unremitting joint effort of the two industries-via a partnership that's grown noticeably stronger with time-to help members of Congress fashion and pass a comprehensive energy bill that includes a renewable fuels standard (RFS) and, more recently, an extension of the federal biodiesel excise tax credit.

As you probably know, these long sought-after legislative goals were achieved July 29 when the Senate, following House action, approved an energy bill that includes a 7.5 billion gallon RFS, an extension of the biodiesel exercise tax credit until 2008 and additional key biofuels provisions. The bill was awaiting the president's signature at press time.

July 29 was a Friday, and I was on the tail end of my summer vacation in northern Minnesota when the news broke. In fact, the news didn't reach me until Saturday night. That was a shocker. After all these years of watching and waiting for Congress to pass an energy bill, it happens while I'm on vacation-and then I don't hear about it until the weekend. Sure, I was elated, but to be honest, I thought the whole thing would be a little more dramatic than it was. After all, we are witnessing the creation of historic legislation that all but guarantees the U.S. biofuels industries will continue to grow for another decade, and yet there wasn't much to say Monday morning but, "OK, let's get to work." I'm betting that's how lawmakers and lobbyists felt as well.

Our editorial team was rushing to get this issue of Biodiesel Magazine to print after the energy bill passed, so I didn't have time to talk to any Washington insiders-the folks working for the National Biodiesel Board, the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the Renewable Fuels Association and other groups-who deserve strong praise for accomplishing their mission. But I can only imagine how they feel. Like gold medal winning Olympians basking in post-competition victory, I envision our friends on Capitol Hill looking centered, at ease and ready for the next big challenge.
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