WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In his effort to develop a national biofuels strategy to reduce America's dependence on imported oil, President Barack Obama invited the Governors' Biofuels Coalition to partner with key members of his administration to achieve his vision for energy independence.

In a May 27, 2009, letter to Coalition Chair Gov. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Vice Chair Gov. Chet Culver of Iowa, President Obama praised the organization for its leadership in biofuels policy and public education. The President asked the Coalition to join him in implementing his Presidential Biofuels Directive, which was issued earlier this month. The directive outlined the President's vision for biofuels development and his expectations for key cabinet and administration officials to lead the Administration's biofuels initiatives.

The President noted that the Coalition's February 2009 recommendations helped form key points of the directive, and led to the President's request for the Coalition to work with "members of my cabinet to implement the directive."

In the letter, President Obama notes that his Administration is committed to the rapid development of cellulosic ethanol. "But this transition will be successful only if the first-generation biofuels industry remains viable in the near-term, and if we remove long-standing artificial barriers to market expansion...," the letter states.

"We cannot achieve the promise of cellulosic biofuels if we do not continue to support and develop the first-generation corn ethanol industry and the infrastructure needed to distribute and deliver biofuels today and in the future," said Governor Hoeven. "This is an endorsement for our continued commitment to the ethanol industry we have today, while moving forward with the development of emerging cellulosic biofuels technologies."

"While the President's acknowledgement of the Coalition's leadership is certainly gratifying, we understand that there is both a great responsibility and a great challenge in helping the President implement his biofuels directive," said Governor Culver. "The Coalition is up to the task. We are very honored, and look forward to working with the Administration to achieve the President's vision for a transition from petroleum-derived transportation fuels to a sustainable, low carbon energy future."

The President also noted the important economic development role that biofuels can play. "It is my hope that the Presidential Biofuels Directive will lead to new jobs, new businesses and reduce dependence on foreign oil," he wrote.

"The governors in the Coalition have seen the profound and positive impact that first-generation biofuels are having on our state and local economies," Governor Hoeven added. "They are the foundation for an even more robust and sustainable domestic energy industry that will enhance our nation's economy and energy security."

For 15 years, the Governors' Biofuels Coalition has provided national leadership on biofuels issues. The Coalition's policy activities address all biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, advanced biofuels, co-products, and technologies yet to come.

SOURCE: Governors' Biofuels Coalition via PR Newswire.