31 March 2010 16:37 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Reports on Wednesday that President Barack Obama would end a longstanding moratorium on US east coast oil and natural gas drilling came to the chagrin of the ethanol industry, which argued that policymakers should focus on alternative energy sources.
“Relying on 20th century energy sources to address 21st century challenges will not solve the problem,” Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president Bob Dinneen said.
“Oil and other fossil fuels are finite resources,” he added. “While we cannot ignore their contributions, neither can we ignore the reality that reliance on them is simply unsustainable.”
According to press reports, Obama would open to oil and natural gas exploration a stretch of the Atlantic from ?xml:namespace>
The coastline from
Obama’s proposal was intended to lower dependence on oil imports, produce revenue from offshore leases and potentially gather Republican support for the administration’s upcoming energy and climate change legislation, reports said.
However, in doing so, Wednesday’s proposal may frustrate groups that were previously his political allies.
The RFA noted that ethanol production was already contributing to
“The continued expansion of ethanol production along with the commercialisation of new technologies will only improve on these benefits,” the RFA said.
The RFA said the Obama administration needed to take several concrete steps to ensure the future of the biofuels industry, including the allowance for up to 15% ethanol to be blended into gasoline, urging Congressional action to extend renewable fuel tax incentives, and improving loan guarantee programmes for cellulosic and next-generation biofuel technologies.
US environmental group Sierra Club also voiced its displeasure with the plan, arguing that potential oil spills could destroy a coastal tourism economy and jobs that depend on it.
"There's no reason to drill our coasts," said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. "We can achieve real energy independence and economic vitality by investing in clean energy like wind and solar and efficiency. This kind of power creates good, lasting American jobs and positions our nation to become a global leader in the new clean energy economy."
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