For immediate release: November 17, 1999
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989


Attention: City and Assignment Editors

Report that Says California Can Make Ethanol as
MTBE Substitute is Subject of Public Hearing


WHAT:

The California Energy Commission will conduct a public hearing on a Committee draft final report about the potential for a biomass to ethanol industry in California. The report says to encourage such an industry, a clear state policy must be considered.

Ethanol is made mostly from corn in the Midwest states used as an additive in gasoline. It is seen as among the most viable alternatives to methyl tertiary butyl ether or MTBE, that California Governor Gray Davis has ordered phased out. In ordering a ban on MTBE, Davis has asked the Energy Commission to evaluate the state's potential to develop a waste-based or other biomass to ethanol industry.

The report said creating liquid fuel from the California's 51 million tons of biomass resources every year, offers a number of potential energy, environmental and economic benefits. The report also said obstacles to creating such an industry are as formidable as the benefits.

WHEN:

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., November 19, 1999

WHERE:

Hearing Room A, California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento

WHY:

The public hearing will receive comments on any and all portions of the Committee draft final report, including the ways to overcome the roadblocks to an ethanol industry from wood chips, rice straw, municipal thrash and solid waste.

The report says as a transportation fuel additive, California's demand for ethanol could be about 1 billion gallons a year, nearly the current annual total production of the entire United States. At present,only one small biomass-to-ethanol plant with a capacity of 6. million gallons of ethanol a year, operates in the state.

WHO:

Participants include Energy Commissioners Michal A. Moore and Robert Pernell, representives of ethanol coalitions from Nebraska and other Midwest states, officers of the only biomass-to-ethanol plant in California, and other interested parties.



Attention Editors: Proceedings will be available on RealAudio on the Internet for the duration of the hearing at:

www.energy.ca.gov/realaudio

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