Like most Americans these days, there are a couple of states I've called home at one time or another. In my case, the pair is Texas and Tennessee, and it warms the cockles of my heart to witness the governors of both states taking swipes at what appear to be excessive mandates for the use of corn-based gasoline ethanol supplements in the United States.

The governors admittedly have economic axes to grind. As Texas's Rick Perry noted recently in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, Congress passed a requirement three years ago that the energy industry mix large amounts of corn ethanol into our gasoline supplies. Last year, that mandate was expanded to 9 billion gallons of ethanol this year, to be followed by another hike for 2009.

Gov. Perry noted that these requirements are causing corn prices to balloon, hitting the pocketbooks of such agriculture companies as Pilgrim's Pride (NYSE:PPC), Smithfield (NYSE:SFD), and Tyson (NYSE:TSN). He asked the Feds to lower the grain-based ethanol requirement by half for one year. His request was rebuffed because, according to those in Washington, "the mandates are not causing sufficient damage to warrant action."

But corn-based ethanol isn't any more popular with Perry's Tennessee counterpart, Phil Bredesen, who recently noted that the best thing you can say about it is that it's a "transitional technology." In Gov. Bredesen's state, DuPont (NYSE:DD) and Denmark's Danisco are teaming up on a pilot cellulosic biorefinery -- making fuel from the non-edible parts of corn and other plants -- in the town of Vonore. The a 250,000-gallon project will begin production late next year, and it should hit commercial scale by 2012.

DuPont's project is one of several currently in the works, including various celluosic-ethanol ventures from Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM), Deere (NYSE:DE), and even General Motors (NYSE:GM). If DuPont's effort pays off, it stands to put smiles on the faces of at least a pair of governors. It also just might be a start toward a biofuel that won't be so rough on our agriculture sector.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your questions, comments, or golf-swing tips. The Fool has a disclosure policy that's well beyond the pilot stage.