Spurred by world events, energy security has vaulted to the top of the US political agenda. Concerns about supply interruptions and rising prices sped approval of an energy bill which Congress had in the works for nearly five years. Moreover, the growing prominence of the nation's energy challenges drew special attention from President Bush in his 2006 State of the Union Address, sparking a renewed search for viable alternative fuels. Of those, ethanol is receiving the lion's share of attention. This paper will argue that the new US focus on energy alternatives will undoubtedly impact the ethanol and agricultural markets. However, this discussion will also advance the notion that a key element of an effective ethanol strategy from both cost and environmental perspectives lies in forging technological and open trading relationships in the Western Hemisphere, particularly with Brazil and Canada.

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