"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 National Farmers Union 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 not reach 5 billion gallons until 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 drafted by Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., that received 69 votes on the Senate floor last year.

"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., re-introduced 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.

The Senate Energy Committee is expected to mark up the RFS legislation when it returns from the spring recess April 29, and 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," said Frederickson.

"Support for renewable fuels has been part of Farmers Union policy for more than 20 years. NFU will continue to work for a RFS to stabilize farm income, improve the environment and create economic opportunities in rural America."

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com