Photo by dichohecho. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.
To say that ethanol raises some people's hackles is an understatement. Still, even with the controversy and the downturn, American ethanol policy may be moving forward. Bloomberg is reporting that new Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has started talks between his department, the USDA, and the Environmental Protection Agency focused on raising the amount of ethanol that is blended in gasoline in the U.S. For those with short memories, Vilsack used to be the governor of Iowa, a state that grows its fair share of corn. While the Bloomberg report does not mention if Vilsack differentiated between cellulosic or corn-based ethanol, he did say that increasing the blend amounts would be "one way in the short term to create new opportunities [for ethanol]." Since all large-scale ethanol prodution in the U.S. at this point is corn-based, we have to assume Vilsack is referring to that type of biofuel.