ACE: Protecting RFS, Expanding Market Access

ACE is working on several fronts, including working to get the RFS back on track, making visits to Capitol Hill, its Power by People campaign and expanding access for E15 and flex fuels, writes Brian Jennings.
By Brian Jennings | June 12, 2015

As we celebrate our independence this month, here’s a rundown of what the American Coalition for Ethanol has been working on and a preview of what’s to come for the remainder of the year. On the policy front, ACE has united with other groups to get the renewable fuel standard back on track. The U.S. EPA has finally proposed the direction it intends to take with the RFS going forward.  The agency is under a court order to finalize the blending levels for 2014 and 2015 by Nov. 30, and they have promised to meet the same deadline for determining the 2016 blending target. Our priority is to ensure oil companies are held legally responsible for making cleaner and less-expensive fuel choices, such as E15 and E85, available to consumers. We are all committed to preventing EPA from using the so-called blend wall as an excuse to reset the RFS.

While EPA has been in the RFS spotlight, we have not neglected Capitol Hill.  Three out of every five members of Congress were not in office when RFS2 was enacted, so we need to educate them about the benefits of ethanol.

In March, 70 ACE members and supporters helped us meet with more than 160 congressional offices representing 43 states during our 2015 fly-in. People from all walks of life took part in our fly-in alongside ethanol producers and corn growers. Our grassroots advocates met face-to-face with policymakers and talked about the RFS, E15 and flex fuels, but most importantly their own personal stories about why ethanol needs to remain a national priority. We also joined with the Fuels America campaign during the fly-in to help convince nearly 40 U.S. senators to sign a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging her to seize the opportunity to get the RFS right by reversing course from the 2014 proposed rule and craft targets for 2015 and 2016 that reflect Congress’ intended goals. 

Expanding market access for E15 and flex fuels is ACE’s top priority this year, and for that reason we launched a new retailer-focused campaign called Flex Forward.  It is based upon the real-life experiences of retailers who were able to break free of oil company restrictions, get over the “blend wall,” and make money by offering E15 and flex fuels to their customers. Our campaign includes print and digital advertisements with the most popular and trusted magazines, newsletters, and websites for retailers.  Monthly readership of these publications surpasses 300,000 people and one of the websites boasts over 30,000 unique visitors each month.  ACE has also unveiled a new retailer website, www.flexfuelforward.com, which includes videos of retailers who have made the switch to E15 and flex fuels in addition to all the technical information retailers need to offer their customers more choices at the pump.

Our Power by People campaign has highlighted many ACE members in print and digital ads to promote the RFS or ethanol industry, in general. Two ads that have been particularly effective feature Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors, and Marietta Lakness, a rancher and investor in Glacial Lakes Energy. Delayne’s ad brings to light the ingenuity that enabled Quad County to become the first facility in the nation to produce one million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. Marietta’s ad emphasized the importance of the RFS during President Obama’s recent visit to her home town.

Finally, I encourage you to join ACE in Omaha, Aug. 19 to 21, for our annual conference. We will meet retailers who are making the switch to E15, learn about a new campaign designed to promote the health benefits of ethanol to consumers, and discover why corn ethanol producers are innovating to produce advanced and cellulosic biofuels. Conference topics will also highlight the new tank car regulations coming down the pike, efforts to promote ethanol and DDGs exports, and a series of breakout sessions designed for plant board directors and staff.

 
Author: Brian Jennings
Executive Vice President
American Coalition for Ethanol
605-334-3381
bjennings@ethanol.org