RFA’s President and CEO Bob Dinneen submitted the following letter to the Orlando Sentinel in response to their recent article featuring Charles Drevna, President of the American Fuels & Petrochemical Manufacturers.
In a recent opinion piece, commodity broker Dave Juday attempts to argue that America’s push to use renewable fuels to weaken our dependence on foreign oil is a “fiasco.” As is often the case with the opinions of anti-ethanol critics, the argument lacks context and a complete recital of the facts. If 400,000 jobs and 445 million fewer barrels of imported oil each year are a fiasco, then America could use a few more just like it.
Your scheduled tour of rural communities through the Upper Midwest this week will no doubt provide you with firsthand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities present in rural communities all across the nation. Your scheduled travel will also bring you in close proximity to many of the most successful drivers of economic opportunity today: ethanol biorefineries.
As the nation teeters on the brink of default, lawmakers from both parties continue to squabble while others seek to further erode the progress America has made in reducing our reliance on imported oil.
In a letter sent to President Obama today, the Renewable Fuels Association urged the President to take pride in the U.S. ethanol industry, as they detailed the dynamic state of the industry. The letter was prompted by remarks the President made during his Twitter town hall event earlier this week, in which the President seemed to question the commitment of ethanol producers and advocates to innovation.
For ethanol interests, the United States Senate was a cauldron of confusion this week. As is often the case in Washington, things are not as they appear. This week's ethanol debate had little to do with ethanol and even less to do with true energy policy. It was old fashioned political theater.
America's commitment to ethanol and renewable fuels has been a unparalleled success for rural America. It has created jobs, spurred economic activity, and even given some rural residents a reason and the opportunity to move back home. Yet, critics of ethanol would lead you to believe that ethanol is the scourage of rural America. A new paper from an anti-ethanol group, Food and Water Watch, goes so far as to compare domestic ethanol production to the illegal methamphetamine plague impacting rural areas. Like much of the rhetoric from those opposing ethanol, this paper is not based on the facts and takes poetic license to irresponsible levels.
When it comes to criticizing “wasteful” tax policy, neither Senator Tom Coburn nor the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal have much credibility. While focusing with near myopic precision on American farmers and ethanol producers, both Sen. Coburn and the Journal are exposing their enormous blind spots when it comes to oil subsidies and corporate tax policy that allows the world’s largest companies to pay no taxes at all.
The Nebraska Senate has taken an important step toward increasing the state's use of domestically produced ethanol by approving a bill to repeal labeling requirements for 10 percent ethanol blends. This is a good first step, but oil interests in the state will not swallow this bill without a fight.
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.
As NPR is still reeling from the November congressional and public outcry to bar local public radio stations from using taxpayer dollars to purchase NPR programing as a result of perceived bias in “reporting”, it is very surprising that NPR would then turn around and run a lop-sided and at times miserably outdated series on ethanol as produced by Harvest Public Media. After listening and reading the past two days’ “reports”, a number of items need to be addressed.
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.
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.
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.