Mr. Fernandez' paper argued that ethanol would provide a three-fold win by reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, helping the environment and bringing biofuel production to Florida farmers.
In April, Gov. Bush wrote a letter to his brother, the President, advising that the 54 cent per gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol be removed. Included with the letter was a 9-page paper written by the Florida Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) which recommended a plan to pump 15 billion gallons of ethanol into the marketplace by 2015. This would account for about 10% of the US's annual gas consumption.
Bush says his new stance on ethanol came from a convergence of climate issues, the environment and Florida's role in the hemispheric free trade debate.
Bush believes that global demand for biofuels will offer room for both the US and Latin American production to co-exist. However, his efforts are bound to face an uphill battle. Bradley Krohn, president of US EnviroFuels, says "The (Florida ethanol) industry needs that 54-cent tariff in order to grow. Otherwise we are simply shifting our dependence from the Middle East to South America and inhibiting the financial community from investing."
The tariff does not expire until 2008.
[Source: St. Petersburg Times]