In 2007, Congress and President Bush codified the Renewable Fuels Standard requiring 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels in our motor fuels by 2022. Now President Obama has laid down a gauntlet reminiscent of the 1960's moon race by calling for a near universal use of renewable power within twenty-five years. Whether America will achieve a clean, sustainable and independent energy future will depend on whether we as a nation can coalesce around this achievable goal.
As turmoil and violence rattle the Middle East and Northern Africa, the fragile American and worldwide economic recovery is being put into jeopardy as oil prices continue their climb over $100. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is voting on provisions that would limit use of the only widely available alternative to imported oil…Ethanol.
According to an economic analysis from Cardno ENTRIX economist John Urbanchuk, 70,600 Americans are employed directly in the production of ethanol and in industries providing goods and services to ethanol producers. As a result of the economic activity generated by ethanol production, more than 400,000 Americans have been able to keep their jobs or find new ones.
This morning at the 16th Annunal National Ethanol Conference, I will be giving the State of the Industry Address, dicussing the successes the ethanol industry has had and challenges that are in front of us.
Frequently discredited ethanol antagonist Tim Searchinger found a sympathetic ear at the Washington Post which published yet another diatribe against biofuels that is largely devoid of relevant facts. That isn’t surprising given that Mr. Searchinger’s theory of international land use change and the penalty he sought to impose on biofuels has been regularly revised and proven false. His most current attack is simply more of the same, even if somewhat toned down.
The USDA has released its February estimates of U.S. and global grain supplies. Some revisions, all of which were expected, slightly reduce USDA's estimates of leftover corn at the end of the marketing year. Let the wild claims and "alarm bells" ring from ethanol's detractors begin.
While some of the most violent clashes in Egypt have calmed, the situation remains very volatile. A peaceful resolution and the institution of a truly democratic government are everyone’s hopes for the people of Egypt. But the unrest and the possibility that it could spread to other countries in the Middle East underscores the need for America to get serious about a domestic energy policy.
As millions of Egyptians engage in a life and death struggle for the future of their country, pundits in the Western media are taking the opportunity to blame all of their favorite scapegoats for the insecurity. American ethanol production is not escaping their wrath. As has always been the case, the “facts” used by these pundits just don’t match the world reality.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released their “preliminary” triennial Congress report on January 19th. The report does not offer any original research; rather, it summarizes and analyzes the results of previous studies. It also admittedly lacks the proper context to compare the attributes of biofuels to petroleum fuels and other energy options. The RFA has analyzed the draft report and has provided initial comments.
Five students were selected to receive a scholarship to attend the 2011 National Ethanol Conference (NEC) in Phoenix, Arizona, February 20-22, 2011. Each student is attending a U.S. institution of higher learning and enrolled in an approved ethanol-related program. These students will have the opportunity to explore what opportunities the ethanol industry has to offer by meeting and networking with industry experts.