MONROE, WI - Representatives of the ethanol industry on July 13 gathered in front of Badger State Ethanol to call for public policy changes aimed at promoting the use of the alternative fuel. 

The press conference featured representatives from Badger State Ethanol, ethanol industry association Growth Energy, the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association and Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

"Every oil sodden animal and oil-coated beach we see on the nightly news is another painful reminder of the true costs of our addiction to oil," said Gary Kramer, president of Badger State Ethanol. "We as a nation owe it to ourselves, our children and our planet to find a better way. We need a future that depends less on oil and more on American-made biofuels, like ethanol."

Ethanol has 60 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, provides thousands of good paying jobs in rural areas, and provides a clean, homegrown alternative to oil, Kramer said.

"We know ethanol is viable and valuable as an alternative fuel. Yet the federal government has capped the amount of ethanol that can be blended in our tanks to just 10 percent. We need to lift that cap and give consumers a choice at the pump," Kramer said.

The Environmental Protection Agency is now considering a request to raise the limit of ethanol blended in conventional gasoline to 15 percent (E15).

In addition to approving E15, the ethanol supporters are asking Congress to:

* Require all cars sold in America to be "flex-fuel" vehicles that can use virtually any blend of ethanol and gasoline

* Support significantly wider usage of "blender pumps" at gas stations.

* Ensure the construction of dedicated ethanol pipelines to move the fuel quickly and cost-effectively around the country.

* Move quickly to renew the import tariff and blenders' tax credit.

"Ethanol and biofuels in general reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are a reliable and renewable source of energy and provide economic benefits to all American families -- either through growing America's fuel directly or through purchasing it at the pump," said Bob Oleson, president of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.

Tuesday's press conference was one of several being held across the country in recent days by representatives of the ethanol industry.