Get Out the Vote for Ethanol

With election day right around the corner, ethanol's advocates can show how powerful the renewable fuels industry is just by exercising their rights to vote, writes Tom Buis. The power of a coordinated grassroots effort cannot be overstated.
By Tom Buis | October 20, 2014

Ethanol supporters far outnumber Big Oil’s handful of advocates and on no day do those numbers matter more than on election day. The power of grassroots engagement cannot be overstated.

Through a large, coordinated effort, our industry can demonstrate to candidates seeking our votes how powerful the renewable fuel industry is and how many lives it impacts. These candidates should clearly see that we will defend our industry; including campaigning for support and actively working to ensure our opponents are defeated.

When was the last time you heard of the grassroots movement to support dirty oil refineries and excessive profits for a select few? I can’t remember one, because there has never been an effective grassroots movement for the narrow, profit-driven interests of Big Oil.

Nov. 4 is just around the corner, which means that it is time to mobilize farmers, ethanol producers, investors, vendors, environmentalists and consumers to head to the polls and vote to elect or re-elect ethanol champions. With a strong enough voter turnout, we have the ability to choose leaders and representatives who will support our industry and loosen Big Oil’s stranglehold on the liquid fuels market. More support means more American jobs that will revitalize rural communities, more energy security and more choice and savings at the pump.

While our industry has champions on both sides of the aisle who are running for various positions across the country, we cannot simply rely on them to continue our fight. We must take the steps to educate and inform new candidates seeking office, while simultaneously advocating for our champions seeking reelection to reinforce just how important this issue is to Americans. If you don’t know where a candidate stands, ask them. Let them know that homegrown renewable fuels are a priority for you and your community. Let them know that your support depends on their pledge to protect biofuels and rural America.

Candidates need to understand what really is at stake. Ethanol creates jobs, approximately 400,000 direct and indirect jobs, in fact, and these jobs can’t be outsourced. They are American jobs that help strengthen our rural economy and have a tremendous ripple effect throughout the agribusiness sector.
Furthermore, these candidates need to understand that ethanol is better for our environment. It has significantly fewer harmful emissions than gasoline and it is cleaning up the air we breathe. Not to mention, no beaches have ever been closed due to an ethanol spill!

As an industry, we also need to highlight the important role biofuels play in our national security. We are reducing our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels. Currently, we are spending nearly a billion dollars a day to import oil from some of the most unstable regions in the world. On top of that, no energy policy should put all of its eggs in one basket. To have true energy security, we must diversify and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and ethanol does just that. 

Finally, ethanol provides consumers a choice and savings at the pump. It is high time that consumers can choose a fuel that is based on price, performance and their individual needs, instead of Big Oil dictating what consumers can or cannot buy.

So, let’s make sure to get out the vote for biofuels supporters. Encourage others to vote for our ethanol champions as well. Each vote matters and has very real consequences for your community and our nation. The ethanol industry supports American jobs that will never be outsourced, strengthens our economy, improves our environment, enhances our energy and national security all while providing consumers a choice at the pump. It’s an easy choice for America and it should be for those running for office.

Let’s hold these candidates accountable and make sure they know that your vote depends on their word to protect and defend America’s renewable fuels industry.

But it does not end there. Congress will return in November after the elections and we must be prepared to push back against any harmful legislation that could be offered in a lame-duck session. Therefore, we must continue our efforts to educate and inform all candidates and current officeholders and make them champions for the renewable fuels industry. Ethanol is a win win for America, and anyone in office or seeking office must recognize that.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy
202-545-4000
tbuis@growthenergy.org