The National Farmers Union, a long-time supporter of a renewable fuels standard, says the House-passed RFS needs work.

“We commend the House for moving on a renewable fuels standard to increase ethanol and biodiesel usage in America's cars and trucks, especially since the House did not consider RFS legislation last year,” said NFU President Dave Frederickson. “However, there are provisions in the House plan that are not acceptable, such as the timetable and the way it deals with MTBE.”

With the House plan, the RFS would reach 5 billion gallons in 2015 and would not ban methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a known water pollutant. NFU prefers requiring the increase by 2012 and a phase-out of MTBE, a plan that received 69 votes on the Senate floor last year as proposed by Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

“Last year's Senate language is the best RFS legislation for farmers and the environment,” Frederickson said.

This year, Reps. Tom Osborne, R-Neb., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., reintroduced the Daschle-Lugar legislation in the House, and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., included it in his chairman's mark. Frederickson said he expects the Senate to debate the energy bill on the floor in late May.

“Farmers and ranchers are anxiously awaiting the establishment of a RFS so they may create more value for their raw products by providing feedstocks for the production of ethanol and biodiesel.”