Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley Statement Regarding MTBE Decision

Mar 19, 2000


Grassley Statement Regarding MTBE Decision


"The Clinton/Gore Administration, attempting to duck its responsibility, gave Big Oil the green light to continue to contaminate with MTBE the water supplies of people throughout America.

"There is a clean air and clean water substitute for MTBE that is available this very day: It's called ethanol, and it's made by American farmers, not by OPEC which is driving up our gasoline prices.

"If the Clinton/Gore Administration had the courage to stand up to Big Oil, today's announcement would have been: 'Big Oil, not the Clean Air Act, has polluted our water with MTBE. We therefore oppose any Clean Air Act oxygenate waiver, and insist that Big Oil begin using ethanol immediately.'

"Had this been the announcement, Big Oil, facing mounting multi-billion dollar liability exposure, would begin shifting out of MTBE immediately.

"Not only would this have protected our water supply from further delays, it would have provided a boost to America's family farmers to the tune of $1 billion per year in increased farm income.

"You have heard that a 'bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.' The Clinton/Gore Administration has turned this on its head. They want farmers to give up a $1 billion per year bird in the hand today for the slight chance legislation can be passed to provide a $1 billion per year market nine years from now.

"And this administration has insulted Midwest Governors. Just three weeks ago Carol Browner asked Iowa's Governor Vilsack to provide data that shows ethanol can replace MTBE. Today's announcement makes it clear she never intended to take seriously anything provided her.