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Administrator Johnson, Renewable Fuel Standard – Final Rule Announcement, Washington, D.C.

Thank you all for joining us.

I especially appreciate Secretary Bodman and Nicole Nason, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for being here to announce the signing of EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS.

In his State of the Union address, President Bush challenged the nation to reduce our gasoline use by 20 percent within 10 years. To help meet his “20 in 10” goal, the President called for growing our renewable and alternative fuel use to 35 billion gallons by the year 2017.

Today, we’re taking an important first step toward meeting President Bush’s “20 in 10” goal of jumping off the treadmill of foreign oil dependency.

Through our nation’s first comprehensive RFS, EPA is dramatically increasing the use of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, in the U.S.

While the Energy Policy Act of 2005 set more modest levels for this RFS rulemaking, the flexible design of our program allows for adaptation of new fuels and standards.

Put simply, the Renewable Fuel Standard offers the American people a hat trick – it protects the environment, strengthens our energy security, and supports America’s farmers.

Under the program, the annual amount of required renewable fuel use increases each year. So by the year 2012, 7.5 billion gallons of fuel being pumped into gas tanks across the county will be made from homegrown crops and renewable resources.

The RFS also calls upon America’s innovative spirit by providing incentives to spur advances in cutting-edge technology, infrastructure and farming methods. For example, we’re excited by the real possibility of one day producing renewable fuel from agricultural and industrial byproducts, such as switchgrass and woodchips.

For years, our nation’s rolling farm fields have filled America’s breadbaskets. Now, by helping meet President Bush’s renewable energy goals, these same fields are filling America’s gas tanks.

The energy security and economic benefits of this program are clear. However, expanding the use of renewable fuels has an additional benefit that is near-and-dear to my heart – it’s good for our environment.

Under the Bush Administration, our nation’s air is cleaner today than it was a generation ago. The program we finalized today builds on our clean air progress by cutting petroleum use by nearly 4 billion gallons by the year 2012.

What does that mean for our environment? It means the increased use of renewable fuels under RFS will prevent the release of greenhouse gas emissions by up to 13 million metric tons – that’s equal to the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 2.3 million cars.

The Renewable Fuel Standard is another tool in our ever-expanding tool box to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions in aggressive yet practical ways.

Under President Bush’s leadership, EPA is addressing our nation’s growing energy demand in a way that supports our goals for a clean environment and a healthy economy. But we can’t do it on our own. I want to thank all of our stakeholders for helping to bring the many benefits of this exciting new program to our nation. This includes our state partners, oil refiners, ethanol and biodiesel producers, environmental organizations and the agricultural community.

The Renewable Fuel Standard is an important first step toward meeting President Bush’s “20 in 10” goal – moving America down the road toward greater energy security, stronger local economies, and healthier lives.

Now, I’d like to invite Secretary Bodman to talk more about how the Bush Administration is working to meet the President’s ambitious renewable fuels goals.

Secretary Bodman?