Taking Power Back From Big Oil

Reaching out to members of Congress and the administration will help us make sure that the renewable fuels industry and rural America are at the top of their minds and agendas, writes Tom Buis, encouraging people to call, write or set up a meeting.
By Tom Buis | February 16, 2015

Our story is one of success, hard work and innovative individuals who looked at an ear of corn and saw a cleaner fuel, nutritious animal feed and countless other coproducts. We know this story well and write new chapters for it each year. But we cannot forget that in addition to being storywriters, we must be storytellers. Stories are meant to be shared, and in order for our industry to succeed, we must continue to tell our tale to Congress, the administration and the public.

The list of the benefits of renewable fuels, like ethanol, is a long one. They provide consumers a choice and savings at the pump, create jobs, revitalize rural communities, improve the environment and increase our nation’s energy independence. We will be most effective in communicating our message to policymakers when we take a moment to consider which of these benefits they might value most. Many have reported that consumer choice, job creation and economic growth are particularly important to them, so as you sit down and talk with your members of Congress and friends or neighbors, consider sharing the following points.

Ethanol is a key, American industry. It supports more than 400,000 domestic jobs that will never be outsourced, revitalizes rural communities and contributes more than $44 billion to the American economy. By moving to E15 nationwide, we can create another 136,000 American jobs in cities like Des Moines, not Abu Dhabi.

If the people you talk to are hesitant to support the RFS and would like the free market to decide the industry’s fate, remind them that the renewable fuels industry isn’t looking for handouts at home or abroad. We voluntarily gave up our tax credit in 2011 and are simply asking for market access and the opportunity to compete. This competition would give consumers the sorely needed ability to choose a fuel that meets their price and performance needs.

Over the past year, ethanol has saved consumers an average of 67 cents per gallon, and in a time when roughly 8 percent of our annual incomes are being used for commuting costs, those savings really add up. It is estimated that ethanol saves motorists more than $100 billion at the pump annually. The industry is also responsible for improving the livelihoods of all farm families and reducing farm payments by $12.3 billion dollars a year. Imagine how much more our nation could save by moving to higher blends like E15.

Reaching out to members of Congress and the administration will help us make sure that the renewable fuels industry and rural America are at the top of their minds and agendas. Make a phone call, write a letter, send an email, set up a face-to-face meeting and share this critical information with policymakers. For our industry to continue to succeed, we need you to stand up, express your concerns and request support for the policies that impact your job, your livelihood and the economic and energy security of this nation.

Your voice, your story and your support can go further than you might imagine. The importance of grassroots political activities is immeasurable. Grassroots involvement takes the power away from Big Oil and their allies and places it into the hands of hardworking Americans who are taking action across the country. The strength of our industry’s voice at the local, state and national levels depends on you and your efforts. Reach out to your friends, family and community.

Inspire and empower people to become involved in the fight and make their voices heard. Consumers, farmers, plant employees, investors, vendors and community leaders all have great reasons to advocate for the renewable fuels industry. We have the numbers on our side, and the timing couldn’t be better. Let’s rally the troops and win this fight.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy