Making Our Voices Heard

By Mike Bryan | August 15, 2011

At what point do we move from frustrated to angry? The treatment being heaped on ethanol in Washington these days is downright disgraceful. To hide the removal of ethanol subsidies behind a thinly disguised veil of budget reductions, when oil subsidies remain untouched, is clearly political and has nothing to do with what’s best for America.

More than 200 ethanol plants pump billions of dollars into local economies and 400,000-plus direct and indirect jobs. Ethanol now constitutes 10 percent of America’s automotive fuel, equivalent to what would be imported from Saudi Arabia. So where is this huge negative budget impact? There isn’t one. It’s simply politics at its worst.

Make no mistake, while cellulosic ethanol is being touted by those opposed to grain-based ethanol as the salvation of the industry, it will not be. As long as oil can continue to make significant political contributions, ethanol, no matter its feedstock, will always be the subject of unreasonable opposition. In short, it will be the same product, with a whole new set of objections. 

The ethanol industry needs stand now on grain-based ethanol. Unwavering, united and unshakeable in our conviction, the contribution American agriculture is making to our economy and America’s energy security cannot be challenged. On the political front, we have seen in the last couple of months what acquiescence achieves, it achieves only defeat. If we join the chorus of those singing the praises of cellulosic ethanol, to the detriment of grain-based ethanol, we will be contributors to the beginning of the end to ethanol.

Getting frustrated and letting someone else do the work in Washington is no longer an option. It’s time to for us to get downright angry and it’s time for each of us to take personal action. There has never been a more important time to contact your Congressmen. It’s time for each of us to say, “Enough! As our representative in Washington, we expect you to defend this great American industry. We expect you, as our representative, to support American agriculture and the contribution to the environment and freedom that ethanol achieves”. Whether it’s a phone call, an email or a personal visit, make it a priority.

Making the contact is a bit of a pain and it’s easier to let the Washington lobbyist do the work, but there is no stronger message to Congress then when it comes from a constituent.  When you have made the contact, forward the message you have sent to Ethanol Producer Magazine and we’ll be sure to post them on our website. We hope there are thousands.

Washington seems to be in a state of total disarray. One way to help get it back on track is to let your voice be heard. We need to tell them what we want and expect. We were the ones who put them there in the first place and we have a right and an obligation to have our voices heard.

It’s no longer a time for bystanders, it’s time for action!

That’s the way I see it!

Author: Mike Bryan
Chairman, BBI International
mbryan@bbiinternational.com