Putting a Face on Ethanol

60 people hold 160 meetings in DC fly-in
By Holly Jessen | April 15, 2011

More than 60 people from 16 states joined the American Coalition for Ethanol for its “Biofuels Beltway March”—the organization’s third annual fly-in to Capitol Hill. “There has never been a more urgent time to bring grassroots ethanol voices to Capitol Hill, and ACE is pleased to organize this timely fly-in,” says Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE.  “ACE members will put a human face on why the U.S. needs to support American ethanol.”

The group had 160 meetings with members of U.S. Congress or their staff, educating legislators from 43 states about ethanol. The goal was to show the proven benefits of ethanol and promote fuel choice through installation of blender pumps and increased numbers of flex-fuel vehicles. The group also planned to talk about reforming the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit rather than repealing it.

The meetings reached nearly half the freshman members of Congress and more than half of those that voted against E15 or blender pumps. “We are not preaching to the choir,” he says. “We’re putting boots on the ground to meet one-on-one with people who need to learn the facts about ethanol, and we planned to make a real impact in these two days.”

The group also heard from special guests USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., part of the GOP leadership and member of the Senator Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over ethanol tax issues.

Also joining the group was Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance member Bob Schauf, a board member and farmer from Western Wisconsin. “We are glad we had the opportunity to speak with members of Congress about this issue,” he says.  “It was important that they heard directly about how crucial ethanol is to the nation’s agricultural economy and energy security.”

—Holly Jessen