There has been considerable attention focused on the energy goals President Bush discussed in his 2007 State of the Union message on Tuesday night (1/23). He called for a reduction of 20 percent in the amount of gasoline consumed in the United States and said that would largely be accomplished by setting a mandatory fuels standard of 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- nearly five times the current target of 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012. 

While EESI commends the setting of such an aggressive goal which can help dramatically stimulate the development of new technologies and feedstocks for the production of renewable fuels (biofuels), we do have concerns about the President's proposal to broaden the Renewable Fuel Standard enacted by Congress to an Alternative Fuels Standard that would also encompass a broad range of other fuels including methanol, butanol, hydrogen and other alternative fuels -- which may be derived from fossil energy, including coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels. The President referenced the need to confront climate change as well as address oil imports and national security. But the additional fuels the President suggested including could well increase the level of greenhouse gas emissions, rather than reduce them.

EESI hopes the Congress will work with the President to achieve this important and aggressive goal -- but to do so through maintaining a truly Renewable Fuel Standard.