Ethanol Push Underway In State Legislature

Farm groups are hoping to build more legislative support this week for a proposed law mandating that all gasoline sold in Wisconsin contain ten percent ethanol, as of next July.

The proposal is the subject of an informational hearing before an Assembly committee in Madison.

Supporters say it would benefit farmers who grow the corn used to make ethanol, while also reducing gasoline prices and lessening the dependence on foreign oil. Key Republicans in the Legislature and Governor Doyle, a Democrat, say the state should join Minnesota, Montana and Hawaii in mandating the requirement.

But an unlikely coalition of oil companies, the state's biggest business lobby and environmental groups oppose the plan. Critics say it would have no effect on gas prices, but would lead to more ozone in the air in hot summer weather ... and that could force more controls on other ozone-producing sources such as power plants and industries.