By a vote of 68 to 31, the Senate yesterday killed an attempt to remove a measure in the Democratic energy bill requiring U.S. refiners to triple their use of ethanol by 2012. The measure would increase nationwide use of the corn-based fuel additive from about 1.7 billion gallons this year to 5 billion gallons by 2012. That’s good news for corn-growing farmers; many environmentalists also back the measure because ethanol is a greener fuel additive than its most common counterpart, MBTE, which reduces smog but also pollutes groundwater. One clear beneficiary of the measure is agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland, which controls 40 percent of ethanol production in the U.S.
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