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Patrick Pushes Biofuel Standards in New Bill

By Ken Maguire Associated Press Writer / November 5, 2007

BOSTON —Gov. Deval Patrick and top lawmakers want to put Massachusetts on the clean energy map by requiring biofuel blends in home heating oil and providing tax incentives for producers of more efficient ethanol technology, known as cellulosic ethanol.

The state would be the first to require all diesel and home heating fuel sold here to contain a minimum amount of bio-based alternatives in their blends, as well as the first to provide incentives for cellulosic ethanol production, Patrick said.

"For the sake of environment, our economy and our nation security, we must act and we must act now," the Democratic governor said at a Statehouse news conference. "We see opportunities to create jobs, drive energy costs down, sharpen our competitive edge at home and promote environmental stewardship around the world."

The bill, introduced with Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, sets standards of a 2 percent blend by 2010, increasing to 5 percent in 2013, in all diesel and home heating fuel.

Biofuels, such as ethanol, are made from corn and other agricultural products. They are seen as a way to reduce harmful emissions and wean Americans and the rest of the world off fossil fuels.

Currently, renewable energy sources supply only about 6 percent of America's energy needs, according to the federal government. That figure is expected to grow only to about 7 percent in the next 20 years, the government forecasts, meaning fossil fuels will still carry the bulk of the load.

Three biofuel refineries are in the planning stages in Massachusetts, Patrick said. Among them are Twin Rivers Technologies in Quincy and Berkshire Biodiesel in Pittsfield. Officials said there's also a facility planned in Greenfield.

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