The Washington Post is reporting on a letter sent to Senate leadership from a group of senators urging an end to the ethanol tax incentive known as VEETC. Unfortunately, the letter ignores the economic and job creation that would be lost if America fails to continue its investment in ethanol and renewable fuels.
The following letters are to the Editors of two publications which have published editorials, denouncing the ethanol industry, skipping over important details and facts.
Every year, Thanksgiving drives millions of Americans to pack up their cars and travel to spend the holiday with family and friends. For those traveling in their flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs), the RFA has developed a Points of Interest (POIs) E85 fuel locater application to help drivers find the nearest E85 fueling station to their current location or final destination. It is easy to download and available for both the Garmin and TomTom GPS devices.
Speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens, former vice president Al Gore declared “it is not good policy to have subsidies for (U.S.) first-generation ethanol.” Explaining his earlier support for grain ethanol, Gore said he had “paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a particular fondness for farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for President.”
Members of Congress are often flooded with emails on various issues important to their constituents. It is easy to believe that those letters quickly find their way into the round file, but as a former Hill staffer, I can tell you that each letter is given the attention it deserves. For evidence, take a look at the response sent to RFA VP Geoff Cooper from Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill on the importance of domestic biofuels. It goes show that it always pays to let your elected officials know what you think beyond the first the Tuesday after the first Monday in November every two years.
Anti-ethanol special interests will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to denigrate American farmers and ethanol producers in a desperate attempt to return to the good ol’ days when corn was $2/bushel and oil was the only game in town. The most recent salvo is the exploitation of an Iowa State University professor that has previously taken money from Brazilian sugar plantations to question American ethanol production. It reads as though it might have been written in the boardroom of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, not in a classroom in Ames, Iowa. (As an Iowa State Alum, I can attest to the generally high quality of the academic experience). As was the case then, his most current arguments still don’t seem based on likely real world scenarios.
Tens of thousands of jobs could be a stake if Congress fails to extend key ethanol tax incentives in the lame duck session warned a group of leading ethanol and agriculture advocates in a letter to House and Senate leadership. Writing today to Congressional leaders ahead of their scheduled White House visit Thursday, the Renewable Fuels Association, along with the American Coalition for Ethanol, American Farm Bureau Federation, Growth Energy, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Association of Corn Growers, National Farmers Union and the National Sorghum Producers encouraged them to extend and/or address three key ethanol-related tax policies. These policies include: extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), extension of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit, and broaden the definition of the cellulosic ethanol producer tax credit to include additional feedstocks like algae. Click the link above to read the full letter.
On November 16, the EPA will hold a public hearing about its proposed label for E15. While many of the people in the room may choose to use the venue to express their frustration about the decision as a whole, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that EPA’s proposed label will do little more than scare consumers. It needs to change.
Today I will be speaking at the Cellulosic Biofuels & Biorefineries Summit this morning in Washington, DC. I plan to talk about key issues within the cellulosic community including the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Loan Guarantee program, investment into cellulosic ethanol and indirect land use and carbon accounting. Read my full remarks by clicking the link above.
Today is a day for the country to reflect on the past, the present and the future. A day when we show our support for those men and women who have defended our country and our way of life, along with those that still do today. Freedom is not easy, nor will it ever be, but there are simple choices that we, as a nation, can make to eliminate some of these fights. Choices to use more domestic products and in particular, domestic fuels.
Lots of editorial boards have come out in support of and against ethanol. They are welcome to their opinions. What they are not welcome to is their own facts. In attacking ethanol as the Houston Chronicle did in its editorial “Food versus fuel: Rising grain costs show folly of continuing federal ethanol subsidies,” the editorial board propagated misinformation and, at some points, simply made up facts to support their predetermined opinion.
U.S. ethanol producers exported 38.8 million gallons of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) in September, up 31% from August, according to government data released today. This is the third highest monthly export total of the year, trailing only March and April. Year-to-date ethanol exports now stand at 251.1 million gallons, meaning the industry is on pace to export some 330 million gallons in 2010.
Last week, NRDC’s Nathanael Greene noted my frustration with his organization’s hasty dismissal of new Department of Energy research that shows “…minimal to zero indirect land use change was induced by use of corn for ethanol over the last decade.” NRDC immediately attempted to trash the DOE work, which was conducted by seasoned scientists at the agency’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Nathanael went so far as to suggest it “tells us nothing about ILUC.” It’s interesting that NRDC could reach such a conclusion without actually ever having seen the study (it hasn’t been published yet), without ever having laid eyes on the raw data underlying the analysis, or without ever having experimented with the methodology that ORNL used.
Safety at an ethanol plant is always a number one priority of RFA Members, and any U.S. ethanol facility for that matter. The industry supports thousands of jobs throughout the country at these plants, and it is important the personnel know they are going to work in a safe environment every day. Earlier this week ERI Solutions Inc, the industry leader for safety services in grain ethanol, announced the winners of their third annual ERI safety awards. Each year, there are three levels of awards given to ethanol producers who have exemplified ideal safety conditions in their facilities and show commitment to continuing these efforts year after year. Of these three levels of awards, there were quite a few RFA Member plants who were honored recipients.
As the Republicans made tremendous gains last night, it is anticipated that this town will become more Republican in January. However, with this change, there will be no meaningful impact on the U.S. ethanol industry. Ethanol is not now, nor has it ever been a partisan issue. As the Republicans made tremendous gains last night, it is anticipated that this town will become more Republican in January. However, with this change, there will be no meaningful impact on the U.S. ethanol industry. Ethanol is not now, nor has it ever been a partisan issue.