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January 18, 2001

Governor Ryan Urges President Clinton to Deny California Application for Waiver on Reformulated Gasoline

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today urged President Clinton to deny California's application for a waiver from the oxygenated requirement for formulated gasoline.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to rule on California's request this week.

"Your administration has demonstrated solid support for American agriculture, and in particular for ethanol, the domestically produced, renewable, clean burning fuel," Gov. Ryan said in a letter to the President.

"I am writing to respectfully request, on behalf of Illinois farmers, our environment, and the ethanol industry that you direct the Environmental Protection Agency to deny the State of California's request for a waiver from the oxygenated requirement of the reformulated gasoline (RFG) program," Gov Ryan said.

"Although MTBE contamination has raised serious health and environmental concerns in Illinois, California, and the rest of the nation, it is not only option available to us, and we believe the Chicago metropolitan area shows the success of the reformulated gasoline program," he said.

The Governor pointed out that since 1995 when RFG was introduced in the Chicago area, the oxygenated mandate has been demonstrated almost exclusively with gasoline containing ethanol. "Ethanol fuels have enjoyed the acceptance of millions of vehicle owners in that area."

"In fact," Gov. Ryan said, "refiners serving areas such as Milwaukee, St. Louis and even portions of California have chosen to use ethanol instead of MTBE."

The Governor told President Clinton that allowing California to opt out of the program is not the answer to the MTBE issue and such action would cause significant harm to the domestic ethanol industry and to American agriculture.

The economic factors involved in the decision are many, Gov. Ryan pointed out "Approximately 280 million bushels of American corn is used to produce clean burning ethanol," he said, ethanol production adds about 25-cents to every bushel of corn grown in the United States; and the ethanol industry provides thousands of jobs, many in rural communities."


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