Protect the RFS, Contact Elected Officials

By Tom Buis | July 11, 2013

It comes as no surprise that the ethanol industry is under attack. Every day brings another news story calling for the elimination of the renewable fuel standard (RFS). Big Oil, Big Food and their special interest allies are spending millions upon millions of dollars to destroy the single most important bipartisan energy policy that Washington has ever enacted. The RFS has led to the most robust farm economy in history, benefiting all stakeholders in the ethanol industry.

But this is all at risk if the industry collectively does not take action to let lawmakers know that the RFS is the answer to continued economic prosperity at home, increased energy security and a better environment, with a cleaner fuel.

The industry needs you to get involved and engaged—to let policy makers know not to make any legislative changes to the RFS. Now is the time to bring higher blends, like E15, into the marketplace to scale the blend wall and provide consumers with a choice and savings at the pump. The RFS, E15 and scaling the blend wall, these are the top priorities our industry must address.

As the heart of the American ethanol industry, and the American Heartland, our producers and supporters see firsthand the robust economic impact that ethanol has on our nation. Our industry has created and supports nearly 400,000 domestic jobs that cannot be outsourced. American ethanol is annually contributing more than $40 billion to the domestic product. And, since 2005, introducing renewable biofuels into our nation’s fuel supply has helped reduce our dependence on foreign oil from 60 to 40 percent.

What is more impressive is that our industry has done this in such a short time. It is poised to achieve great things in the coming year. Ethanol plants nationwide are experimenting with using different feedstocks, from sorghum to switchgrass to municipal waste, to find new and innovative ways to produce ethanol. And, it is becoming more efficient, constantly updating technologies to improve ethanol production to ensure we use less energy and our fuel remains a cleaner, high performance, cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels.

However, in order to keep moving our industry and our nation forward, we need to impress upon our lawmakers the importance and value of both our industry, and the backbone behind it, the RFS. None of these advancements in technology, economic growth and increased energy security would be possible without the RFS.

Big Oil will stop at nothing to keep the blend wall in place and prevent higher blends of biofuels like E15 from the marketplace, even though it is the most tested fuel change in our nation’s history. Recently, Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute doubled down on his efforts to protect Big Oil’s market share and refuse the American consumer a choice and savings at the pump stating, “The ever-increasing biofuels mandate is a looming national crisis. Unless we put an immediate end to this outdated, detrimental policy, the mandate could put consumers in harm’s way and disrupt the nation’s fuel supply.”

We must not allow Big Oil and special interests to influence lawmakers with such misinformation. Your Representatives and Senators must understand that the RFS is necessary for rural America and that it is creating jobs, driving research and investment, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and improving the environment, all while providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump with fuels like E15.

This is a battle we cannot afford to lose. Everyone who is a stakeholder in the ethanol industry could be impacted terribly if Big Oil gets its way. Not only will the ethanol industry and all the supporting industries suffer, but so will the American people if we take a giant step backward in energy policy by accepting the failed status quo.   

So, please join the fight and contact your Representative and Senator, by calling the switchboard at the U.S. Capitol at 202-224-3121. Other ways to get involved include engaging local opinion leaders and elected officials and making sure to get your friends and colleagues involved. Invite your local and federal lawmakers, government officials and the media to visit your plants.

Send a letter, make a phone call and make a difference. The world belongs to those who show up and speak out. We know we can win this fight and with your help, we will win!

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy