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An oil well sits in the middle of a corn field October 3, 2008 near Norris City, Illinois. Crude oil production in Illinois has been steadily declining since its peak in the mid-1980s. The state is now one of the nation?s top ethanol producing states.
The Environmental Protection Agency could announce as early as this week how much ethanol must be blended into gasoline and diesel fuel in 2014. A draft of the proposal, leaked in October, points to a reduction of the so-called ethanol mandate by the EPA to 2012 levels, to 15.21 billion gallons.
A 2007 law had set the 2014 mandate at 18.15 billion gallons.The ethanol mandate was created by Congress in 2005 and strengthened in 2007. In the U.S., the biofuel is made mostly from corn. The oil industry has long been fighting to repeal the mandate.
But the anti-ethanol camp also includes many environmentalists, who point to the negative impact corn ethanol production causes the environment. Ethanol industry groups equate the mandate reduction to a subsidy for Big Oil. Should the ethanol mandate be slashed?
Geoff Cooper, Vice President of Research and Analysis at the Renewable Fuels Association, the leading trade group for the American ethanol industry based in D.C.
Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a nonprofit watchdog organization in D.C.