Doyle rips Republican Legislature over ethanol bill

Gov. Doyle is furious with the Legislature.

“Based on complete misinformation, the Republican Legislature today rejected a key ethanol incentive… the second time in less than four months they have blocked important measures to promote the use of ethanol,” he said in a release.

At today’s meeting of the Joint Finance Committee, Republicans objected to Governor Doyle’s proposal to provide grants to encourage Wisconsin gas stations to install more E-85 pumps, which dispense fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and contribute to Wisconsin’s economy. Republicans cited a bogus concern that the money would end up going to “big oil companies” — even though no gas stations in Wisconsin are owned by one of the big six oil companies. Virtually all gas stations in Wisconsin are independently owned, and not one penny of the funding would have gone to big oil.

“It’s a sad irony that while Wisconsin’s farm economy is poised to make us the nation’s ethanol leader, Wisconsin’s Republican legislature is quickly becoming one of the most anti-ethanol in the country,” Doyle said.

“The Republican action today doesn’t hurt Big Oil – it helps Big Oil by reinforcing their monopoly over Wisconsin’s consumers. We have an opportunity to allow our farmers, our environment, and our economy to benefit from greater use of ethanol in our state, but Republicans missed it. I strongly urge the Legislature to reconsider.”

In March, Governor Doyle launched the Promoting Our Wisconsin Energy Resources (POWER) Initiative to promote energy independence. Today, Joint Finance Committee Republicans stalled a vote to provide $335,000 to fund POWER Initiative projects that would increase the number of E-85 fueling stations, increase use of E-85 in local government vehicle fleets, and promote the use of E-85 fuel. Grants totaling $175,000 would have been distributed to local gas stations to install E-85 pumps.

In March, the state Senate also voted 17-15 to delay action on legislation that would require all regular unleaded gas to contain 10 percent ethanol. The bill, strongly supported by Governor Doyle and Wisconsin’s rural community, sought to reduce the state’s dependence on foreign oil, help the environment, and boost Wisconsin’s rural economy.